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Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 447–452 | Cite as

Insight into the growth dynamics and systematic affinities of the Late Cretaceous Gargantuavis from bone microstructure

  • Anusuya Chinsamy
  • Eric Buffetaut
  • Aurore Canoville
  • Delphine Angst
Short Communication

Abstract

Enigmatic avialan remains of Gargantuavis philoinos from the Ibero-Armorican island of the Late Cretaceous European archipelago (Southern France) led to a debate concerning its taxonomic affinities. Here, we show that the bone microstructure of Gargantuavis resembles that of Apteryx, the extinct emeids and Megalapteryx from New Zealand, and indicates that like these slow-growing terrestrial birds, it took several years to attain skeletal maturity. Our findings suggest that the protracted cyclical growth in these ornithurines may have been in response to insular evolution.

Keywords

Bone histology Bone microstructure Avialans Gargantuavis Growth dynamics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Samuel Turvey is thanked for the image of Megalapteryx. Jean Le Loeuff granted permission to sample specimen MDE-A08. The National Research Foundation (South Africa) and the Claude Leon Foundation (South Africa) are acknowledged for funding support to Chinsamy and Canoville, respectively. This work was partly supported by the Interrvie programme of CNRS. Finally, Michel Laurin, Lorna Steel and an anonymous referee are thanked for comments that have improved this article.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anusuya Chinsamy
    • 1
  • Eric Buffetaut
    • 2
  • Aurore Canoville
    • 1
  • Delphine Angst
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Géologie de l’Ecole Normale SupérieureCNRS (UMR 8538)Paris Cedex 05France
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon (UMR5276)Université Claude Bernard—Lyon 1Villeurbanne CedexFrance

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