Chondrogenesis and ossification of the lissamphibian pectoral girdle



Knowledge of amphibian shoulder development is requisite for further understanding of gnathostome pectoral girdle evolution. Fish and amniotes share few pectoral girdle elements, but modern amphibians exhibit a unique combination of traits that bridge the morphological gap between these two groups. I analyzed patterns of chondrogenesis, ossification, and bone histology of the pectoral girdles of two anuran species (Xenopus laevis and Bombina orientalis) and two urodele species (Ambystoma mexicanum and Desmognathus aeneus) to provide new insight into the evolution of the tetrapod pectoral girdle. Comparisons reveal the following: 1) variation in the pattern of chondrogenesis among the anuran species analyzed correlates to variation in adult pectoral girdle morphology; 2) morphologically similar pectoral skeletons do not necessarily have similar patterns of bone histology; and 3) the urodele and anuran pectoral girdles included herein share a common morphology despite differences in patterns of chondrogenesis. J. Morphol., 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.