On comparing biological shapes: Detection of influential landmarks



For problems of classification and comparison in biological research, the primary focus is on the similarity of forms. A biological form consists of size and shape. Several approaches for comparing biological forms using landmark data are available. If the two biological forms are demonstrated to be different, the next important issue is to localize the differences by identifying those areas which differ most between the two objects. In this paper we suggest a technique to detect influential landmarks, those which contribute most to the difference between forms. We study the effectiveness of the technique using three-dimensional simulated data sets and two examples. Results suggest that the technique is useful in the study of biological form and its variation.