Postnatal skeletal ontogeny in Callisaurus draconoides and Uta stansburiana (Iguania: Phrynosomatidae)



The mineralization of the skeleton from hatching to near maximum size in two phrynosomatid lizards, Callisaurus draconoides and Uta stansburiana, is described in detail. Observed patterns in the appearance of epiphyseal secondary centers, ossification centers, apophyseal ossifications, and calcifications, the distribution of sesamoids, and the timing of fusions, are compared and contrasted with observations of other squamates available in the literature. Overall, Callisaurus and Uta exhibit an advanced state of ossification in the hatchling relative to other squamate neonates and share a similar sequence of braincase fusions and appearance of secondary centers. Preliminary observations suggest that patterns of postnatal skeletal development are highly conserved and independent of patterns of prenatal morphogenesis, and thus a potentially rich source of character data for systematic investigations. J. Morphol. 251:114–139, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.