The osteohistology including bone cross-sectional geometry of skeletal elements such as the limb bones, ribs, and intercentra of three Triassic temnospondyl taxa from India were examined to reveal varied bone microstructure and differing growth patterns. The Early Triassic trematosaurid examined is characterized by a change in tissue type from a well-vascularized fibrolamellar bone early in ontogeny to peripheral lamellar bone and lines of arrested growth later in ontogeny, suggesting a fast initial growth followed by a slow and intermittent growth later in life. In contrast, the Middle Triassic paracyclotosaurid and the Late Triassic chigutisaurid examined had a cyclical, overall slow growth, as evidenced from predominance of lamellar bone in the cortex. It is hypothesized that the rapid growth of the trematosaurids was an attempt to stabilize the ecosystem after the Permo-Triassic extinction event. Fibrolamellar bone tissue is described for the first time in a Triassic temnospondyl. Bone cross-sectional geometry, low-to-average cortical porosity, and other parameters imply that the members of the Early and Middle Triassic taxa recovered from India retained a high level of terrestriality. The high cortical porosity and extensive medullary spongiosa suggest that the Late Triassic chigutisaurids had a semi-aquatic or aquatic life style. The varying cortical thickness of the limb bones in paracyclotosaurids may be attributed to different biomechanical constraints.
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Vol. 30 • No. 1