Growth curve of Aetosauroides scagliai Casamiquela 1960 (Pseudosuchia: Aetosauria) inferred from osteoderm histology
Jeremías R. A. Taborda, Ignacio A. Cerda, Julia B. Desojo, 2013. "Growth curve of Aetosauroides scagliai Casamiquela 1960 (Pseudosuchia: Aetosauria) inferred from osteoderm histology", Anatomy, Phylogeny and Palaeobiology of Early Archosaurs and their Kin, S. J. Nesbitt, J. B. Desojo, R. B. Irmis
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Recent palaeohistological studies on paramedian osteoderms of aetosaurs revealed the presence of growth lines (lines of arrested growth or LAGs) and a minimal or nonexistent secondary remodelling in the bone matrix of these elements. This feature allows the age of individuals to be estimated through growth line count. In the present contribution we study the growth curve of the South American aetosaur Aetosauroides scagliai. We estimated the age (obtained from LAG counting) and body size (body length and body mass were used as proxies) of different aetosaur specimens in order to reconstruct the growth curve of the South American species. The data obtained for Aetosauroides scagliai were compared with that of other aetosaurs, such as Neoaetosauroides engaeus, Aetosaurus ferratus, Aetobarbakinoides brasiliensis, Typothorax coccinarum and Paratypothorax sp. Our results indicate that, if body length is considered as proxy, all studied aetosaur specimens have a similar or almost identical growth rate. However, important variations arose among aetosaur taxa if body mass is considered as proxy, which would be related to a body morphology ranging from slender (e.g. Aetobarbakinoides brasiliensis) to very wide (Typothorax coccinarum) morphotypes. In comparison with extant pseudosuchians (i.e. crocodylians), Aetosauroides scagliai possesses a relatively lower growth rate.
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Archosaurs, an important reptile group that includes today’s crocodiles and birds, arose during the Triassic in the aftermath of the greatest mass extinction of all time. In the last 20 years, our understanding of the early evolution of the group has improved substantially with the discovery of new fossils and species of early archosaurs and their closest relatives, a better understanding of the relationships of these animals, and new insights into their palaeobiology. In order to synthesize these new data, researchers of early archosaurs from around the world met at the first symposium of early archosaur evolution at the IV Congreso Latinoamericano de Paleontología de Vertebrados (September 2011) in San Juan, Argentina. This symposium facilitated collaboration and strove to paint a better understanding of these extraordinary animals. The resultant body of work is a state-of-the-art examination of early archosaur groups and their close relatives including historical, anatomical, biogeographical, evolutionary and palaeobiological data. This contribution furthers our knowledge of the anatomy, relationships, and palaeobiology of species-level taxa as well as more global patterns of archosaur evolution during the Triassic.