MS Master of Science in Nursing
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
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.
Thesis - unrestricted
Gunnin, Davis, "Femoral Osteohistology in American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) Reveals High Variation in Growth and Facilitates Interpretation of an Early Pliocene Alligator" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4263. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4263
Copyright by the authors.