Histomorphogenesis of embryos of Upper Jurassic Theropods from Lourinha (Portugal)

Armand J. de Ricqlès, Octávio Mateus, Miguel Telles Antunes, Philippe Taquet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Remains of dinosaurian embryos, hatchlings and early juveniles are currently the subject of increasing interest, as new discoveries and techniques now allow to analyse palaeobiological subjects such as growth and life history strategies of dinosaurs. So far, available 'embryonic' material mainly involved Ornithopods and some Theropods of Upper Cretaceous age. We describe here the histology of several bones (vertebrae, limb bones) from the tiny but exceptionally well preserved in ovo remains of Upper Jurassic Theropod dinosaurs from the Paimogo locality near Lourinhā (Portugal). This Jurassic material allows to extend in time and to considerably supplement in great details our knowledge of early phases of growth in diameter and in length of endoskeletal bones of various shape, as well as shape modelling among carnivorous dinosaurs. Endochondral ossification in both short and long bones involves extensive pads of calcified cartilages permeated by marrow buds. We discuss the likely occurrence of genuine cartilage canals in dinosaurs and of an avian-like 'medullary cartilaginous cone' in Theropods. Patterns of periosteal ossification suggest high initial growth rates (20 umm.day-1 or more), at once modulated by precise and locally specific changes in rates of new bone deposition. The resulting very precise shape modelling appears to start early and to involve at once some biomechanical components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-656
Number of pages10
JournalComptes Rendus De L Academie Des Sciences Serie Ii Fascicule A-Sciences De
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2001


  • Histology and bone growth dynamics
  • Theropods
  • Dinosaurs
  • Embryos
  • Jurassic


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