Alligator Osteoderm Replica


Like other Crocodilians, Alligators have an armor of bony scutes. The dermal bones are highly vascularized and aid in calcium balance, both to neutralize acids while the animal cannot breathe underwater and to provide calcium for eggshell formation.


Alligator Osteoderm Replica measures 2.5 in. Alligator Osteoderm Replica is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA. Alligator mississippiensis is the scientific name. Our precise Osteoderm can be used as a teaching tool, museum Osteoderm exhibit, home décor, or office décor.

Alligator Osteoderms are bony deposits forming scales, plates or other structures based in the dermis. Osteoderms are found in many groups of extant and extinct reptiles and amphibians, including lizards, crocodilians, frogs, temnospondyls (extinct amphibians), various groups of dinosaurs (most notably ankylosaurs and stegosaurians), phytosaurs, aetosaurs, placodonts, and hupehsuchians (marine reptiles with possible ichthyosaur affinities).

Osteoderms are uncommon in mammals, but have occurred in many xenarthrans (armadillos and the extinct glyptodonts and mylodontid and scelidotheriid ground sloths). The heavy, bony osteoderms have evolved independently in many different lineages.

The structures are derived from scutes, common to all classes of amniotes and are an example of what has been termed deep homology. In many cases, osteoderms may function as defensive armor.

Alligator Osteoderms are composed of bone tissue, and are derived from a scleroblast neural crest cell population during embryonic development of the organism. The scleroblastic neural crest cell population shares some homologous characteristics associated with the dermis. Neural crest cells, through epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, are thought to contribute to osteoderm formation.

The Alligator osteoderms of modern Alligators are heavily vascularized, and can function as both armor and as heat-exchangers, allowing these large reptiles to rapidly raise or lower their temperature.

Another function is to neutralize acidosis, caused by being submerged under water for longer periods of time and leading to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood.

The calcium and magnesium in the dermal bone will release alkaline ions into the bloodstream, acting as a buffer against acidification of the body fluids.

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Additional information

Dimensions 2.5 in
Alligator Facts

Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Alligatoridae
Genus: Alligator
Cuvier, 1807
Type species: Alligator mississippiensis