The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Alteration of the isotopic composition of oxygen in dinosaur bone

Trueman, C.N., Chenery, C.A., Spiro, B.F. and Eberth, D. (2003) Alteration of the isotopic composition of oxygen in dinosaur bone Journal of the Geological Society, 160, (6), pp. 895-901. (doi:10.1144/0016-764903-019).

Record type: Article


Assessing effects of diagenesis on oxygen isotope composition of bone is essential to its use in reconstructing habitats and lifestyles of ancient vertebrates. These effects are a matter of controversy, particularly in the case of extinct animals such as dinosaurs. To investigate the effects of diagenesis on isotopic composition of fossil bone, bone samples from both marine and terrestrial Campanian sediments from Alberta, Canada, have been analysed. The isotopic compositions of oxygen (18OSMOW) were determined in bones sampled from articulated skeletons of exclusively terrestrial animals recovered from the terrestrial Dinosaur Park Formation, and compared with bones from the marine Bearpaw Formation. The articulated skeleton of an exclusively terrestrial dinosaur (hadrosaur) found in marine sediments yielded similar 18O values for both structural carbonate and phosphate fractions (mean 18OSMOW values 22.6 and 16.9, respectively) in bone to marine reptiles (mosasaurs) recovered from the same locality (mean 18OSMOW values 24.2 and 17.3, respectively). The isotopic composition of both skeletons recovered from marine sediments was significantly more positive than that of articulated hadrosaur skeletons recovered from contemporaneous terrestrial sediments (mean phosphate 18OSMOW value 12.9), and outside the range of phosphate 18OSMOW values previously reported for terrestrial dinosaur skeletons (c. 9–14). These data suggest that the isotopic composition of oxygen in the phosphate and structural carbonate ions in the bone apatite was altered during diagenesis and can be used for neither palaeoclimate nor physiological reconstruction.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 2003


Local EPrints ID: 37972
ISSN: 0016-7649
PURE UUID: 82e97b13-bf22-441a-abb0-c630303c0567

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:40

Export record



Author: C.N. Trueman
Author: C.A. Chenery
Author: B.F. Spiro
Author: D. Eberth

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton:

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.