Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million year old fish

Date:
March 19, 2014
Source:
Uppsala Universitet
Summary:
The earliest fossil evidence for the presence of bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million-year-old fish. Long bones, which are found in the limb of tetrapods, are not only important for locomotion and supporting the weight of the body, but also host the bone marrow. The latter plays a major role in haematopoiesis, i.e. the formation of blood cells.

This week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a team of French and Swedish researchers present the earliest fossil evidence for the presence of bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million-year-old fish.

Long bones, which are found in the limb of tetrapods, are not only important for locomotion and supporting the weight of the body, but also host the bone marrow. The latter plays a major role in haematopoiesis, i.e. the formation of blood cells. In a healthy adult human, about a hundred billion to one trillion new blood cells are produced every day to maintain the stable blood circulation. The bone marrow also has an important role as part of the immune system. Although long bones are a rich source for marrow transplantation, the establishment the bone marrow in the medullary cavity and its interactions with the surrounding bone still remain partly mysterious and its evolution is not well understood.

Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France decided to look for the origin of the bone marrow within vertebrates, using synchrotron microtomography to investigate the interior structure of fossil long bones without damaging them. They discovered that Eusthenopteron, a Devonian (370 million year old) lobe-finned fish from Miguasha in Canada that is closely related to the first tetrapods, already exhibited typical marrow processes inside its humerus (upper arm bone). These processes are longitudinal, larger than blood vessel canals, and connect to the shoulder and elbow joint surfaces of the humerus. Thanks to the beam power of the ESRF, they were able to reach submicron resolutions and accurately reconstruct the 3D arrangement of the long-bone microanatomy of this close relative of tetrapods.

"We have discovered that the bone marrow certainly played a major role in the elongation of fin bone through complex interactions with the trabecular bone" says Sophie Sanchez, a researcher from Uppsala University and the ESRF. "This intimate relationship, which has been demonstrated by molecular experiments in extant mammals, is actually primitive for tetrapods."

This discovery is very important for understanding the evolutionary steps that built up the distinctive architecture of tetrapod limb bones and created a location for the distinctive, complex and functionally important tissue that is bone marrow. It is also a powerful demonstration of the capabilities of synchrotron microtomography.

"Without the 3D information provided by the synchrotron, we could never have understood the internal organization of the marrow space" says Per Ahlberg from Uppsala University. "If you cut a slice through a bone like this, which would damage it irreparably, you would only see an uninformative pattern of holes in the cut surface. With the synchrotron we can image the whole internal structure and understand how the marrow processes are organized, without doing any damage to the bone at all."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Uppsala Universitet. The original article was written by Linda Koffmar. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Sanchez, P. Tafforeau, P. E. Ahlberg. The humerus of Eusthenopteron: a puzzling organization presaging the establishment of tetrapod limb bone marrow. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1782): 20140299 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0299

Cite This Page:

Uppsala Universitet. "Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million year old fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319085422.htm>.
Uppsala Universitet. (2014, March 19). Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million year old fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319085422.htm
Uppsala Universitet. "Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million year old fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319085422.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) — The signature is one of a couple Lincoln autographs that have popped up recently. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A new study is packed with interesting Neanderthal-related findings, including a "definitive answer" to when they went extinct. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins