In adults and children over two years of age, large cranial defects do not reossify successfully, posing a substantial biomedical burden. The osteogenic potential of bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells has been documented. This study investigates the in vivo osteogenic capability of adipose-derived adult stromal (ADAS) cells, BMS cells, calvarial-derived osteoblasts and dura mater cells to heal critical-size mouse calvarial defects. Implanted, apatite-coated, PLGA scaffolds seeded with ADAS or BMS cells produced significant intramembranous bone formation by 2 weeks and areas of complete bony bridging by 12 weeks as shown by X-ray analysis, histology and live micromolecular imaging. The contribution of implanted cells to new bone formation was 84-99% by chromosomal detection. These data show that ADAS cells heal critical-size skeletal defects without genetic manipulation or the addition of exogenous growth factors.