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Crocodilian Osteoderms
© &copyHarry Pristis 2011

Crocodilian Osteoderms

Harry Pristis

These are bits of boney armor from the dorsal regions of large crocodilians. This armor arises from the dermis of the reptiles. The armor bits are sometimes preserved as fossils.

These bits of bone are called "osteoderms," not "scutes."

(Scutes are the chitonous scales that cover these osteoderms in life. Scutes are thin, flexible, and translucent. Scutes arise from the epidermis of the animals. They are never preserved as fossils.)

Notice the central boss of the alligator osteoderm is not present in the armor of this crocodile, making it relatively easy to distinguish between the two taxa.


© &copyHarry Pristis 2011
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