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Covariation between forelimb muscle anatomy and bone shape in an Australian scratch‐digging marsupial: Comparison of morphometric methods

Martin, M.L., Travouillon, K.J., Sherratt, E., Fleming, P.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 and Warburton, N.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-8498-3053 (2019) Covariation between forelimb muscle anatomy and bone shape in an Australian scratch‐digging marsupial: Comparison of morphometric methods. Journal of Morphology, 280 (12). pp. 1900-1915.

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The close association between muscle and bone is broadly intuitive; however, details of the covariation between the two has not been comprehensively studied. Without quantitative understanding of how muscle anatomy influences bone shape, it is difficult to draw conclusions of the significance of many morphological traits of the skeleton. In this study, we investigated these relationships in the Quenda (Isoodon fusciventer), a scratch‐digging marsupial. We quantified the relationships between forelimb muscle anatomy and bone shape for animals representing a range of body masses (124–1,952 g) using two‐block partial least square analyses. Muscle anatomy was quantified as muscle mass and physiological cross‐sectional area (PCSA), and we used two morphometric methods to characterize bone shape: seven indices of linear bone proportions, and landmarks analysis. Bone shape was significantly correlated with body mass, reflecting allometric bone growth. Of the seven bone indices, only shoulder moment index (SMI) and ulna robustness index (URI) showed a significant covariation with muscle anatomy. Stronger relationships between muscle anatomy and forelimb bone shape were found using the landmark coordinates: muscle mass and PCSA were correlated with the geometric shape of the scapula, humerus, and third metacarpal, but to a lesser extent with shape of the ulna. Overall, our data show that landmark coordinates are more sensitive than bone indices to capturing shape changes evident throughout ontogeny, and is therefore a more appropriate method to investigate covariation with forelimb muscle anatomy. Single‐species studies investigating ontogeny require refined methods to accurately develop understanding of the important relationships between muscle force generation and bone shape remodeling. Landmark analyses provide such a method.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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