This study determined the bone formation in porous calcium carbonate (CC) and porous hydroxyapatite (HA) in ectopic sites. The bone formation stimulus was derived from bone marrow cells. CC and HA in the shape of disks were implanted with or without rat marrow cells into subcutaneous sites of syngeneic rats. The CC and HA had identical microstructure: pore size was 190–;230 μm, porosity was 50–60% and they were fully interconnected. Bone did not form in any implants without marrow cells (disks themselves), whereas bone consistently formed in the pores of all implants with marrow cells after 4 weeks. The bone formation of both CC and HA occurred initially on surface of the pore regions and progressed toward the center of the pore. Scanning electron microscopy and electronprobe microanalysis revealed a continuum of calcium at the interfaces of both bone/CC and bone/HA implants. These results indicate that the bone formation in calcium carbonate derived from marine corals is comparable to the bioactive hydroxyapatite.