Developmental Plasticity in the Life History of a Prosauropod Dinosaur

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Science  16 Dec 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5755, pp. 1800-1802
DOI: 10.1126/science.1120125

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Long-bone histology indicates that the most common early dinosaur, the prosauropod Plateosaurus engelhardti from the Upper Triassic of Central Europe, had variable life histories. Although Plateosaurus grew at the fast rates typical for dinosaurs, as indicated by fibrolamellar bone, qualitative (growth stop) and quantitative (growth-mark counts) features of its histology are poorly correlated with body size. Individual life histories of P. engelhardti were influenced by environmental factors, as in modern ectothermic reptiles, but not in mammals, birds, or other dinosaurs.

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