Palaeohistology Research 

 

The osteohistology of extant South African vertebrates (Jennifer Botha-Brink)

This is a database project, which involves the collection of extant vertebrate material from South Africa in order to develop a modern comparative osteohistology database, comprising data from vertebrates of various sizes, ages, metabolic regimes, mechanical loads and lifestyle habits. As the bone tissues of living vertebrates are used as modern analogues for interpreting fossil bone tissues, there is an increasing need for the development of modern osteohistology databases worldwide. This database focuses largely, but not only, on vertebrates from South Africa with the aim of collecting data from taxa living in arid, seasonal and savannah type environments as well as specific lifestyles such as burrowing. Special focus is given to burrowers with the aim of quantifying osteohistological traits in these taxa and comparing them with extinct vertebrates to determine if burrowers can be identified on the basis of osteohistological characters alone. This type of information is helpful when morphological traits in extinct burrowers are indistinct or ambiguous.