Humeral epiphyseal shape in the felidae: The influence of phylogeny, allometry, and locomotion

Authors

  • Anthony Walmsley,

    1. Hull York Medical School, The University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sarah Elton,

    1. Hull York Medical School, The University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Julien Louys,

    1. Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK
    Current affiliation:
    1. currently at School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Laura C. Bishop,

    1. Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carlo Meloro

    Corresponding author
    1. Hull York Medical School, The University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
    • Hull York Medical School, The University of Hull, Loxley Building, Cottingham Road, Hull HU6 7RX, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Bone morphology of the cats (Mammalia: Felidae) is influenced by many factors, including locomotor mode, body size, hunting methods, prey size and phylogeny. Here, we investigate the shape of the proximal and distal humeral epiphyses in extant species of the felids, based on two-dimensional landmark configurations. Geometric morphometric techniques were used to describe shape differences in the context of phylogeny, allometry and locomotion. The influence of these factors on epiphyseal shape was assessed using Principal Component Analysis, Linear Discriminant functions and multivariate regression. Phylogenetic Generalised Least Squares was used to examine the association between size or locomotion and humeral epiphyseal shape, after taking a phylogenetic error term into account. Results show marked differences in epiphyseal shape between felid lineages, with a relatively large phylogenetic influence. Additionally, the adaptive influences of size and locomotion are demonstrated, and their influence is independent of phylogeny in most, but not all, cases. Several features of epiphyseal shape are common to the largest terrestrial felids, including a relative reduction in the surface area of the humeral head and increased robusticity of structures that provide attachment for joint-stabilising muscles, including the medial epicondyle and the greater and lesser tubercles. This increased robusticity is a functional response to the increased loading forces placed on the joints due to large body mass. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary