Osteoderm microstructure of Riostegotherium yanei, the oldest Xenarthra


An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc.




Abstract: Riostegotherium yanei from the Itaboraí Basin, Brazil, is the oldest known Xenarthra. This paper aims to describe the internal morphology of the osteoderms of Riostegotherium yanei from the perspective of histology and micro-CT approaches, expanding the available data on cingulate osteoderm microstructure. Seven osteoderms of R. yanei were used for the internal microstructure description and eight of Dasypus novemcinctus for comparison. The osteoderms of Riostegotherium yanei lacks the diploë-like structure typical of glyptodonts but has a three-layered structure composed of two layers of non-Haversian compact bone enclosing a central layer of primary and secondary osteons. This internal organization is distinct from other Astegotheriini of comparable age, but similar to Dasypus. The 3D reconstruction of Riostegotherium yanei revealed two patterns of internal organization. Pattern 1 of movable osteoderm is composed of large remodeled areas at the base and a more compact bone at the tongue; in Pattern 2 (both movable and buckler), the internal cavities are much smaller, more numerous, and more interconnected to each other. In one buckler osteoderm, the cavities are organized somewhat radially with a compact central region (Pattern 1). Pattern 1 of both movable and buckler osteoderms resemble that of Dasypus.

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