Brief communication: Morphological effects of captivity: A geometric morphometric analysis of the dorsal side of the scapula in captive-bred and wild-caught hominoidea


Correspondence to: Alejandro Pérez-Pérez, Unitat d'Antropologia, Dept. Biologia Animal, Fac. de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona. E-mail:


Many osteological collections from museums and research institutions consist mainly of remains from captive-bred animals. The restrictions related to the space of their enclosures and the nature of its substrate are likely to affect the locomotor and postural behaviors of captive-bred animals, which are widely considered uninformative regarding bone morphology and anatomical adaptations of wild animals, especially so in the case of extant great apes. We made a landmark-based geometric morphometrics analysis of the dorsal side of the scapular bone of both wild-caught and captive-bred great apes to clarify the effect of captivity on the morphology of a bone greatly involved in locomotion. The comparison suggested that captivity did not have a significant effect on the landmark configuration used, neither on average scapular shape nor shape variability, being impossible to distinguish the scapulae of a captive-bred animal from that of a wild-caught one. This indicates that the analyzed scapulae from captive Hominoidea specimens may be used in morphological or taxonomic analyses since they show no atypical morphological traits caused by living conditions in captivity. Am J Phys Anthropol 152:306–310, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.