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Microanatomical diversity of the humerus and lifestyle in lissamphibians


Aurore Canoville and Michel Laurin, UMR 7179, Université Paris 6 – Pierre et Marie Curie, 4 place Jussieu, Case 19, 75251 Paris, France. E-mail: and


A study of body size and the compactness profile parameters of the humerus of 37 species of lissamphibians demonstrates a relationship between lifestyle (aquatic, amphibious or terrestrial) and bone microstructure. Multiple linear regressions and variance partitioning with Phylogenetic eigenVector Regressions reveal an ecological and a phylogenetic signal in some body size and compactness profile parameters. Linear discriminant analyses segregate the various lifestyles (aquatic vs. amphibious or terrestrial) with a success rate of up to 89.2%. The models built from data on the humerus discriminate aquatic taxa relatively well from the other taxa. However, like previous models built from data on the radius of amniotes or on the femur of lissamphibians, the new models do not discriminate amphibious taxa from terrestrial taxa on the basis of body size or compactness profile data. To make our inference method accessible, spreadsheets (see supplementary material on the website), which allow anyone to infer a lissamphibian lifestyle solely from body size and bone compactness parameters, were produced. No such easy implementation of habitat inference models is found in earlier papers on this topic.