Palaeohistology and palaeopatology of an Aeolosaurini (Sauropoda: Titanosauria) from Morro do Cambambe (Upper Cretaceous, Brazil)


A recent publication of fossil bones of titanosaurs assigned to Aeolosaurini from the Morro do Cambambe site (Mato Grosso state, Brazil, Upper Cretaceous) reported anomalous growth in some of them. Here, we present osteohistological sections of elements to understand not only the microstructure and growth of such bones, but also the nature of those anomalies. The primary bone of all specimens consisted of a variation of the fibrolamellar complex, with the inner cortex being rich in woven bone with dispersed longitudinal canals, while the outer cortex was parallel-fibred with rows of longitudinal canals, interlayered by Lines of Arrested Growth (LAGs). We identified a maximum of two LAGs in the cervical rib and haemal arch, and four in the dorsal rib. The haemal arch shows an External Fundamental System (EFS) in most sections. The advanced remodelling and variation of the fibrolamellar bone in the cortex suggests that all the specimens represent individuals that reached sexual maturity. However, the haemal arch was distinct due to the wide distribution of EFS. The dorsal rib exhibited periosteal and endosteal outgrowth. Such microstructure was assigned to a reactive bone due to an intra-thoracic infection (a pneumonia, probably related to a tuberculosis), which is the first report in a non-avian dinosaur. The microstructure resembles the medullary bone recovered in dinosaurs, which suggests that further studies of medullary bone in thoracic bones should also regard the pathological cases.

Palabras clave

Pneumonia, palaeohistology, palaeopathology, Titanosauria, Upper Cretaceous, Brazil.

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