Dermal bone

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A dermal bone or membrane bone is a bony structure derived from intramembranous ossification forming components of the vertebrate skeleton including much of the skull, jaws, gill covers, shoulder girdle and fin spines rays (lepidotrichia), and the shell (of tortoises and turtles). In contrast to endochondral bone, dermal bone does not form from cartilage that then calcifies, and it is often ornamented. [1] Dermal bone is formed within the dermis and grows by accretion only – the outer portion of the bone is deposited by osteoblasts.

Intramembranous ossification is one of the two essential processes during fetal development of the gnathostome skeletal system by which rudimentary bone tissue is created. Intramembranous ossification is also an essential process during the natural healing of bone fractures and the rudimentary formation of bones of the head. Unlike endochondral ossification, which is the other process by which bone tissue is created during fetal development, cartilage is not present during intramembranous ossification.

Vertebrate subphylum of chordates

Vertebrates comprise all species of animals within the subphylum Vertebrata. Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 69,276 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes and jawed vertebrates, which include the cartilaginous fishes and the bony fishes.

Skeleton body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism

The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism. It can also be seen as the bony frame work of the body which provides support, shape and protection to the soft tissues and delicate organs in animals. There are several different skeletal types: the exoskeleton, which is the stable outer shell of an organism, the endoskeleton, which forms the support structure inside the body, the hydroskeleton, and the cytoskeleton. The term comes from Greek σκελετός (skeletós), meaning 'dried up'.

The function of some dermal bone is conserved throughout vertebrates, although there is variation in shape and in the number of bones in the skull roof and postcranial structures. In bony fish, dermal bone is found in the fin rays and scales. A special example of dermal bone is the clavicle.

Skull roof

The skull roof, or the roofing bones of the skull, are a set of bones covering the brain, eyes and nostrils in bony fishes and all land-living vertebrates. The bones are derived from dermal bone and are part of the dermatocranium.

Clavicle plain bone of short length that serves as a strut between the scapula and the sternum

The clavicle or collarbone is a long bone that serves as a strut between the shoulder blade and the sternum or breastbone. There are two clavicles, one on the left and one on the right. The clavicle is the only long bone in the body that lies horizontally. Together with the shoulder blade it makes up the shoulder girdle. It is a touchable bone and in people who have less fat in this region, the location of the bone is clearly visible, as it creates a bulge in the skin. It receives its name from the Latin: clavicula because the bone rotates along its axis like a key when the shoulder is abducted. The clavicle is the most commonly fractured bone. It can easily be fractured due to impacts to the shoulder from the force of falling on outstretched arms or by a direct hit.

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Crocodilia order of large reptiles

Crocodilia is an order of mostly large, predatory, semiaquatic archosaurian reptiles, known as crocodilians. They first appeared 95 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period and are the closest living relatives of birds, as the two groups are the only known survivors of the Archosauria. Members of the order's total group, the clade Pseudosuchia, appeared about 250 million years ago in the Early Triassic period, and diversified during the Mesozoic era. The order Crocodilia includes the true crocodiles, the alligators and caimans, and the gharial and false gharial. Although the term 'crocodiles' is sometimes used to refer to all of these, crocodilians is a less ambiguous vernacular term for members of this group.


A scute or scutum is a bony external plate or scale overlaid with horn, as on the shell of a turtle, the skin of crocodilians, and the feet of birds. The term is also used to describe the anterior portion of the mesonotum in insects as well as some arachnids.

<i>Cacops</i> genus of amphibians (fossil)

Cacops, a genus of dissorophid temnospondyls, is one of the most distinctive Paleozoic amphibians that diversified in the equatorial region of Pangea during the Kungurian stage of the early Permian. Dissorophids were a group of fully terrestrial, often heavily armored faunivores. This, along with their relatively large size and geographical range suggest that they were able to coexist with amniotes as predators during the early Permian. Dissorophidae has four distinct clades differentiated largely on the morphology of the osteoderms, the Eucacopinae, the Dissorophinae, the Aspidosaurinae, and the Platyhystricinae. Cacops is one of the few olsoniforms whose ontogeny is beginning to surface. Cacops fossils were almost exclusively known from the Cacops Bone Bed of the Lower Permian Arroyo Formation of Texas for much of the 20th century. New material collected from the Dolese Brothers Quarry, near Richards Spur, Oklahoma in the past few decades has been recovered, painting a clearer picture of what the animal looked and acted like.

<i>Venaticosuchus</i> genus of reptiles

Venaticosuchus is a genus of pseudosuchian archosaurs from the family Ornithosuchidae. Known from a single species, V. rusconii, this genus is described based on an incomplete skull and jaw collected from the Late Triassic Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina, which was deposited around 230 million years ago. This fossil material has been termed the holotype specimen PVL 2578. Venaticosuchus possessed a myriad of different features from the other two genera of ornithosuchids, Ornithosuchus and Riojasuchus. However, it also had several unique traits, most relating to the lower jaw.

<i>Simosuchus</i> genus of crocodylomorphs

Simosuchus is an extinct genus of notosuchian crocodylomorphs from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar. It is named for its unusually short skull. Fully grown individuals were about 0.75 metres (2.5 ft) in length. The type species is Simosuchus clarki, found from the Maevarano Formation in Mahajanga Province.

<i>Doswellia</i> genus of reptiles

Doswellia is an extinct genus of archosauriform from the Late Triassic of North America. It is the most notable member of the family Doswelliidae, related to the proterochampsids. Doswellia was a low and heavily built carnivore which lived during the Carnian stage of the Late Triassic. It possesses many unusual features including a wide, flattened head with narrow jaws and a box-like rib cage surrounded by many rows of bony plates. The type species Doswellia kaltenbachi was named in 1980 from fossils found within the Vinita member of the Doswell Formation in Virginia. The formation, which is found in the Taylorsville Basin, is part of the larger Newark Supergroup. Doswellia is named after Doswell, the town from which much of the taxon's remains have been found. A second species called D. sixmilensis was described in 2012 from the Bluewater Creek Formation of the Chinle Group in New Mexico.


Osteoderms are bony deposits forming scales, plates or other structures based in the dermis. Osteoderms are found in many groups of extant and extinct reptiles and amphibians, including lizards, crocodilians, frogs, temnospondyls, various groups of dinosaurs, phytosaurs, aetosaurs, placodonts, and hupehsuchians.

Goniopholididae is an extinct family of moderate-sized semi-aquatic crocodyliforms superficially similar to living crocodiles. They lived between the Early Jurassic and the Late Cretaceous.

Eusuchia taxon of reptiles

The Eusuchia are a clade of crocodylomorphs that first appears in the Early Cretaceous with Hylaeochampsa. Along with Dyrosauridae and Sebecosuchia, they were the only crocodyliformes who survived the K-T extinction. Since the other two clades died out 35 and 11 million years ago, all living crocodilian species are eusuchians, as are many extinct forms.

Gilchristosuchus is an extinct genus of neosuchian crocodyliform. Its fossils have been found in the upper Milk River Formation of Alberta, Canada, in rocks of either latest Santonian or earliest Campanian age. Gilchristosuchus was described in 1993 by Wu and Brinkman. The type species is G. palatinus, in reference to its distinctive palatine bones.

<i>Dibothrosuchus</i> genus of reptiles

Dibothrosuchus is a genus of sphenosuchian, a type of basal crocodylomorph, the clade that comprises the crocodilians and their closest kin. It is known from several partial skeletons and skulls. These fossils were found in Lower Jurassic rocks of Yunnan, China. Dibothrosuchus was a small terrestrial crocodylomorph that probably had a keen sense of hearing, and thus was probably a vocal animal like modern crocodilians.

Kayentasuchus is a genus of sphenosuchian, a type of basal crocodylomorph, the clade that comprises the crocodilians and their closest kin. It is known from a single skeleton found in rocks of the Sinemurian-Pliensbachian-age Lower Jurassic Kayenta Formation, northeastern Arizona.

Cerrejonisuchus is an extinct genus of dyrosaurid crocodylomorph. It is known from a complete skull and mandible from the Cerrejón Formation in northeastern Colombia, which is Paleocene in age. Specimens belonging to Cerrejonisuchus and to several other dyrosaurids have been found from the Cerrejón open-pit coal mine in La Guajira. The length of the rostrum is only 54-59% of the total length of the skull, making the snout of Cerrejonisuchus the shortest of all dyrosaurids.

Tsoabichi is an extinct genus of caiman crocodylian. Fossils are known from the Green River Formation in Wyoming, and date back to the Wasatchian stage of the Eocene. The genus was named and described in 2010 by paleontologist Christopher A. Brochu, with the type species being Tsoabichi greenriverensis. According to the current understanding of caiman evolutionary relationships, Tsoabichi is a basal member of Caimaninae and may have evolved after caimans dispersed into North America from northern and central South America, their main center of diversity in the Cenozoic.

Cyamodontoidea superfamily of marine reptiles, Triassic period

Cyamodontoidea is an extinct superfamily of placodont marine reptiles from the Triassic period. It is one of the two main groups of placodonts, the other being Placodontoidea. Cyamodontoids are distinguished from placodontoids by their large shells, formed from fused bony plates called osteoderms and superficially resembling the shells of turtles. Cyamodontoids also have distinctive skulls with narrow, often toothless jaws and wide, flaring temporal regions behind the eyes. Two large temporal openings are positioned at the top of the back of the skull, an arrangement that is known as the euryapsid condition and seen throughout Sauropterygia, the marine reptile group to which placodonts belong. Cyamodontoids are also distinguished by their large crushing teeth, which grow from the palatine bones on the roof of the mouth.

Pristichampsidae is an extinct family of crocodilians known from Europe during the Paleogene. Only one genus of pristichampsid are currently recognized, Pristichampsus. Pristichampsids were highly specialized crocodilians that were adapted to living on land. They have extensive body armor, long legs, and blunt claws resembling hooves, and are sometimes informally called "hoofed crocodiles". Most phylogenetic analyses place pristichampsids in a basal position within Crocodylia. Some of these analyses find that pristichampsids lie just outside Brevirostres, the group of crocodilians that includes alligators, caimans, and crocodiles but not gharials. Pristichampsids are inferred to have first appeared in the Late Cretaceous, several tens of millions of years before they actually occur in the fossil record. This is because the earliest members of Brevirostres appear in the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous, and Pristichampsidae, being an outgroup to Brevirostres, must have branched off before this time.

<i>Helodermoides</i> genus of reptiles

Helodermoides is an extinct genus of anguid lizards from the Oligocene of North America. The genus is monotypic, including only the species Helodermoides tuberculatus. Helodermoides belongs to an extinct subfamily of anguids called Glyptosaurinae. In addition to many fragmentary bones, several complete skeletons of Helodermoides are known. Like other glyptosaurines, Helodermoides was covered in small scale-like bones called osteoderms. The osteoderms covering its skull are hexagonal, tightly interlocking, raised, and rounded.

Osteoderms are dermal bone structures that support the upper layer of skin and serve as protection against the elements in a large variety of extinct and extant organisms, especially reptiles. This structure is commonly called "dermal armor" and serves to protect the organism, while also helping with temperature regulation. Osteoderms represent hard tissue components of the integument, making them easy to identify in fossil examination. This dermal armor is found prominently in many lizards. Some early amphibians have this armor, but it is lost in modern species with the exception a ventral plate, called the gastralia.

<i>Knoetschkesuchus</i> genus of reptiles

Knoetschkesuchus is a genus of small atoposaurid crocodylomorph from the Late Jurassic of Germany and Portugal. Two species are known: the German species K. langenbergensis, described by Schwarz and colleagues in 2017 based on two partial skeletons and various isolated bones; and the Portuguese species K. guimarotae, named from over 400 specimens including several partial skeletons. Knoetschkesuchus was a small and short-snouted crocodilian, measuring about 55 centimetres (22 in) in length, that primarily fed on small prey, including invertebrates, amphibians, and mammals. This specialization towards small prey ecologically separated Knoetschkesuchus from most of the other diverse crocodilians that it lived with in the island ecosystem of Jurassic Europe.


  1. de Buffrénil, V.; Clarac, F.; Fau, M.; Martin, S.; Martin, B.; Pellé, E.; Laurin, M. (2015). "Differentiation and growth of bone ornamentation in vertebrates: a comparative histological study among the Crocodylomorpha". Journal of Morphology. 276 (4): 425–445. doi:10.1002/jmor.20351. PMID   25488816.