Diverse Science

Chinsamy-Turan, Anusuya | The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bone

  • First edition, first printing. A superb copy of the first book devoted solely to dinosaur bone histology.

    Some of the earliest paleontological researchers, including Louis Agassiz and Gideon Mantell, studied the microscopic structure of fossilised bones, but it was not until the 1950s that “the systematic study of archosaur palaeohistology began in earnest with the pioneering studies of Enlow & Brown”, who showed that cellular structure was preserved intact in fossils and that it “contained a wealth of information regarding the evolution and function of skeletal tissues in extinct organisms”. This was followed in the 1970s by the work of Armand de Ricqlès, who posited that “palaeohistological features could be correlated with growth rates and thus could indirectly shed light on the thermal physiology of extinct organisms”, in other words, that the microstructures of bones could reveal whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded (Bailleul, et al. “Dinosaur Palaeohistology: Review, Trends, and New Avenues of Investigation”, PeerJ, September 2019, pp. 3-4).

    Author Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (1962 - ), of the University of Cape Town, was the first scientist to attempt reconstruction of a dinosaur growth curve based on the microstructure of its fossilised bones, and is today one of the world’s leading experts on dinosaur histology. She is the author of more than one hundred academic articles and four books, and has won numerous awards, including the Academy of Science of South Africa’s Gold Medal.

    The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bones draws on Chinsamy-Turan’s extensive experience in this field. “In this well-written, well-edited volume, she concludes that bone microstructure does indicate how bone formed during growth, and it does provide information on how factors such as seasonality, ontogenetic age, and lifestyle adaptations affected its growth, but she also finds that speculations about physiology based on bone histology are just that: speculations... Chinsamy-Turan has done the scientific community a great service by pulling together the wealth of information about dinosaur bone microstructure, and interpreting that information clearly and logically. Starting with a clear explanation of the organization of bone tissue on a microstructural level and the changes in bone composition during fossilization, she moves on to a helpful overview of dinosaur phylogeny and an insightful explanation of modern approaches to the study of dinosaur bones. Detailed descriptions of bone biology and beautiful color plates of dinosaur bone histology make dinosaur osteology accessible to any biologist who is fascinated with the biology of dinosaurs, as well as to both professors and graduate students working in this field” (Spotila, “Bred in the Bone: Bone Microstructures Bring Dinosaurs to Life”, BioScience 56 (3), 2006).

  • ...Deciphering Biology with Fine-Scale Techniques. Baltimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

    Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. 4 double-sided plates from colour photographs, diagrams, charts, and illustrations from black and white photos throughout the text. Excellent condition, with just a single tiny bump to the edge of the upper board and a few small scratches to the dust jacket.