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Iheringia. Série Zoologia
versão impressa ISSN 0073-4721
LIMA, Fabiano C.; SANTOS, André Luiz Q.; VIEIRA, Lucélia G. e COUTINHO, Marcos E.. Ossification sequence of skull and hyoid in embryos of Caiman yacare (Crocodylia, Alligatoridae). Iheringia, Sér. Zool. [online]. 2011, vol.101, n.3, pp. 161-172. ISSN 0073-4721. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0073-47212011000200003.
The skull is a unique and complex structure of vertebrates and a main focus of morphological and systematic studies. Although Crocodilians represent an important component of Archosauria group, our knowledge of the development and homology are few. Herein, we describe the detailed development sequence of skull of the Caiman yacare (Daudin, 1802) in an effort to contribute to filling this anatomical gap. Embryos were sampled randomly at a regular intervals during full incubation period and morphological descriptions are based on cleared and stained and embryos. The ossification pattern of C. yacare follow general aspects for reptiles and others tetrapods. The first ossification centers occur in dermal bones involved in primary functions such as feeding and breathing, like maxillae, dentary, splenial, angular, pterygoid, ectopterygoid and jugal, including the teeth. Bones of dorsal portion of the neurocraniun ossify later, showing a cranial fontanelle that remains at the hatching. The parietal, frontal and opisthotic have more than one ossification center that fuse during ontogeny. The ossification center for parasphenoid was absent and only one ossification center is present for basisphenoid bone. The posterior portion of the skull is formed for ossification centers of chondrocranium substitution that ossify in later stages.
Palavras-chave : Morphology; ontogeny; ossification; Pantanal caiman; reptiles.