Degree Name

MS Master of Science in Nursing



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine Schubert

Committee Members

Joshua Samuels, Holly Woodward, Chris Widga


Histological analysis of long bone thin sections is commonly used to infer growth rates and ecology of extinct vertebrates, particularly within Archosauria. However, most comparative neontological studies have used small samples of captive individuals, limiting the scope of variation. To fill this gap, 44 femoral thin sections of wild Alligator mississippiensis were prepared and analyzed. Comparison of slides revealed that larger individuals from cooler climates tend to show more LAGs compared to southerly A. mississippiensis of similar size, however, there is considerable variation. This pronounced variation in wild specimens emphasizes the need to use caution when interpreting paleohistological data with little modern comparative samples. Finally, thin sections of early Pliocene Alligator sp. fossils from the Gray Fossil Site (GFS), Washington Co., Tennessee were prepared. The GFS Alligator grew more slowly than A. mississippiensis examined and may have reached reproductive maturity at smaller sizes.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Biology Commons