Abstract

The Danek Bonebed (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is a monodominant Edmontosaurus regalis assemblage of the upper Campanian (Upper Cretaceous) Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Bone histology of humeri and femora are used in this paper to test hypotheses about the growth dynamics and palaeobiology of Edmontosaurus. The high number of elements collected from the Danek Bonebed allow for an expansion of the multi-element histological record for hadrosaurs. Results indicate that Edmontosaurus had a growth trajectory similar to other large-bodied dinosaurs and reached the onset of somatic maturity at about 10–15 years of age; however, even the largest elements to preserve lines of arrested growth do not have external fundamental systems. This timing of the onset of somatic maturity agrees with the estimated body size of Edmontosaurus relative to other dinosaurs for which life-history data are available. Vascularity patterns support the hypothesis that edmontosaurs preserved at the Danek Bonebed were not subject to the same extreme seasonal environmental shifts as congenerics preserved at higher latitudes, further supporting overwintering behaviour in the latter.

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