Allometry of the limb bones of mammals from shrews (Sorex) to elephant (Loxodonta)



Measurements have been made of the principal leg bones of 37 species representing almost the full range of sizes of terrestrial mammals. The lengths of corresponding bones tend to be proportional to (body mass)0·35 and the diameters to (body mass)0·36, except in the family Bovidae in which the exponents for length are much nearer the value of 0·25 predicted by McMahon's (1973) theory of elastic similarity. Comparisons are made between mammals of similar size belonging to different orders.