A comparison of the ontogeny of shape variation in the anthropoid scapula: Functional and phylogenetic signal


  • Nathan M. Young

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94110
    • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
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This article compares ontogenetic shape variation in the scapula of 17 anthropoid species using three-dimensional landmark-based geometric morphometrics. These data are used to investigate functional and phylogenetic signal in the major components of scapular variation and to evaluate the degree to which postnatal growth contributes to interspecific differences in shape. Results indicate that the shape of the infant and adult scapula is primarily associated with positional behavior (e.g., orthograde suspensory nonquadrupeds versus pronograde quadrupeds), but within this functional structure there is phylogenetic signal, particularly at infant stages. Growth most closely correlates with infant/adult shape and locomotor function. These results suggest that the shape of the infant scapula drives the pattern of postnatal scapular growth and adult morphology. As such, variation in postnatal growth is not the primary source of interspecific variation in adult shape. Instead, interspecific differences in scapular morphology are hypothesized to be the result of selection for variation in embryonic developmental processes that affect shape. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.