Climatic influence on the growth pattern of Panthasaurus maleriensis from the Late Triassic of India deduced from paleohistology

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title



Metoposaurids are representatives of the extinct amphibian clade Temnospondyli, found on almost every continent exclusively in the Late Triassic deposits. Osteohistologically, it is one of the best-known temnospondyl groups, analyzed with a wide spectrum of methods, such as morphology, morphometry, bone histology or computed modelling. The least known member of Metoposauridae is Panthasaurus maleriensis from the Pranhita-Godavari basin in Central India, being geographically the most southern record of this family. For the first time the bone histology of this taxon was studied with a focus on the intraspecific variability of the histological framework and the relationship between the observed growth pattern and climatic and/or environmental conditions. The studied material includes thin-sections of five long bones, a rib, an ilium and an intercentrum belonging most likely to eight individuals ranging from different ontogenetic stages. All bones have a large medullary region with progressively increasing remodeling, surrounded by a lamellar-zonal tissue type. The primary cortex consists of parallel-fibered matrix showing various degrees of organization, less organized collagen fibers in the zones and higher organized in the annuli. Growth marks occur in the form of alternating zones and annuli in every bone except the ilium and the intercentrum. The vascularity becomes less dense towards the outermost cortex in all sampled limb bones. Towards the outermost cortex the zone thickness is decreasing, in contrast to the avascular annuli, that become thicker or are of the same thickness. The growth pattern of P. maleriensis is uniform and represents changes in ontogenetic development. Multiple resting lines are prominent in the outer annuli of the limb bones and the rib and they presumably indicate climatic and environmental influence on the growth pattern. Therefore, a prolonged phase of slowed-down growth occurred during the unfavorable phase, but a complete cessation of growth indicated by Lines of Arrested Growth (LAGs) is not recorded in the studied samples. Based on the histological framework we conclude that the climate had an impact on the growth pattern. As we do not see any LAGs in the Indian metoposaurid, we assume that the local climate was relatively mild in India during the Late Triassic. A similar prolonged phase of slowed down growth without the occurrence of LAGs was observed in Metoposaurus krasiejowensis from the Late Triassic of Krasiejów (Poland). This is in contrast to Moroccan metoposaurid Dutuitosaurus ouazzoui from the Late Triassic of Argana Basin, where LAGs are regularly deposited throughout ontogeny indicating most likely harsher climatic conditions.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold, Green

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