Identification and comparison of modern and fossil crocodilian eggs and eggshell structures

Marco Marzola, João Russo, Octávio Mateus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Eggshells from the three extant crocodilian species Crocodylus mindorensis (Philippine Crocodile), Paleosuchus palpebrosus (Cuvier's Smooth-fronted Caiman or Musky Caiman) and Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator or Common Alligator) were prepared for thin section and scanning electron microscope analyses and are described in order to improve the knowledge on crocodilian eggs anatomy and microstructure, and to find new apomorphies that can be used for identification. Both extant and fossil crocodilian eggs present an ornamentation that vary as anastomo-, ramo- or the here newly described rugosocavate type. The angusticaniculate pore system is a shared character for Crocodylomorpha eggshells and some dinosaurian and avian groups. Previously reported signs of incubated crocodilian eggs were found also on our only fertilised and hatched egg. Paleosuchus palpebrosus presents unique organization and morphology of the three eggshell layers, with a relatively thin middle layer characterised by dense and compact tabular microstructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-133
Number of pages19
JournalHistorical Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Alligator mississippiensis
  • Crocodylus mindorensis
  • eggshell structures
  • Extant and fossil crocodyliform eggshells
  • Paleosuchus palpebrosus
  • rugosocavate pore canals type


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