The Science of Nature

, 104:25 | Cite as

Unusual intraosseous fossilized soft tissues from the Middle Triassic Nothosaurus bone

  • Dawid Surmik
  • Bruce M. Rothschild
  • Roman Pawlicki
Original Paper

Abstract

Fossilized soft tissues, occasionally found together with skeletal remains, provide insights to the physiology and functional morphology of extinct organisms. Herein, we present unusual fossilized structures from the cortical region of bone identified in isolated skeletal remains of Middle Triassic nothosaurs from Upper Silesia, Poland. The ribbed or annuli-shaped structures have been found in a sample of partially demineralized coracoid and are interpreted as either giant red blood cells or as blood vessel walls. The most probable function is reinforcing the blood vessels from changes of nitrogen pressure in air-breathing diving reptiles. These structures seem to have been built of extensible muscle layers which prevent the vessel damage during rapid ascent. Such suspected function presented here is parsimonious with results of previous studies, which indicate rarity of the pathological modification of bones associated with decompression syndrome in Middle Triassic nothosaurs.

Keywords

Intraosseous Physiology Fossilized soft tissues Nothosaurus Middle Triassic 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Dr. Katarzyna Balin (Silesian Centre for Education and Interdisciplinary Research, Chorzów, Poland) for performing the mass spectrometry measurements and Aleksandra Pikuła (Sosnowiec, Poland) for making the three-dimensional idealized restoration of ribbed vessel. This research project is supported by National Science Center, Poland (www.ncn.gov.pl) grant no. 2011/01/N/ST10/06989.

Author contributions

DS conceived and designed the project with contribution of BMR. RP with DS prepared samples to scanning electron microscopy and mass spectra analyses. RP performed SEM images. DS with BMR wrote the paper with consultation of RP.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Park of Science & Human EvolutionKrasiejówPoland
  2. 2.Faculty of Earth ScienceUniversity of SilesiaSosnowiecPoland
  3. 3.Carnegie MuseumPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.West Virginia University College of MedicineMorgantownUSA
  5. 5.Department of HistologyJagiellonian University Medical CollegeKrakówPoland

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