Mammal Hip Morphology and Function: Coxa Recta and Coxa Rotunda



Using 15 parameters, we provide a systematic description of mammal proximal femoral morphology. We established two types of proximal femoral morphology, termed coxa recta and coxa rotunda, characterized by low versus high concavity of the head–neck junction. Concavity is a measure of the sphericity of the femoral head as it meets the femoral neck that can be quantified by angular measurements. We asked whether the parameter of concavity corresponds with the classification of mammal proximal femoral morphology based on coalesced versus separate ossification patterns and locomotor patterns. Statistical analysis demonstrated a distinction between coxa recta and coxa rotunda with significant differences between the two groups in all but 3 of the 15 parameters examined. We found the most discriminating measurement between mammal hips to be the concavity of the posterior head–neck junction (beta angle). Coxa recta (small concavity) and coxa rotunda (large concavity) relate to the ossification pattern seen in proximal femoral development, and species-specific patterns of locomotion. We interpret the two hip types to reflect optimization for strength (recta) versus mobility (rotunda). Conceptually, both hip types can be recognized in humans, where coxa recta can be related to the development of osteoarthritis. Anat Rec, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.