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1 December 2011 Traditional and geometric morphometrics for studying skull morphology during growth in Mastomys natalensis (Rodentia: Muridae)
Matteo Breno, Herwig Leirs, Stefan Van Dongen
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Abstract

Geometric morphometrics is a powerful tool for the study of morphological variation that possesses numerous advantages over the more traditional approach based on linear measurements. We analyzed skull morphology, comparing traditional with geometric morphometrics, of 3 different developmental pathways in Mastomys natalensis (Rodentia: Muridae) from a single population. During early development growth patterns were influenced by environmental factors, specifically rainfall pattern, consistent with previous reports that growth trajectories vary according to the amount and distribution of rain. Results confirmed that early growth rate is one of the main determinants of size and shape differences in the skull in the 3 developmental pathways (generation types) of M. natalensis. Other factors, such as food quality and consistency, also could play an important role. Overall, geometric morphometrics appeared more sensitive than the traditional method in detecting variation in skull morphology, but both approaches led to very comparable conclusions. Phenotypic plasticity is an alternative explanation to local adaptations for ecogeographical morphological variation.

2011 American Society of Mammalogists
Matteo Breno, Herwig Leirs, and Stefan Van Dongen "Traditional and geometric morphometrics for studying skull morphology during growth in Mastomys natalensis (Rodentia: Muridae)," Journal of Mammalogy 92(6), 1395-1406, (1 December 2011). https://doi.org/10.1644/10-MAMM-A-331.1
Received: 28 September 2010; Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 December 2011
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
geometric morphometrics
growth
phenotypic plasticity
skull morphology
traditional morphometrics
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