The purpose of the study was to identify unique features of the normal osteology and radiologic anatomy of the thoracic limb of the meerkat or suricate (Suricata suricatta), as no comprehensive information has been published. Bone specimens of 19 suricates were studied. Individual bones of the manus of one preserved carcass were studied in situ. Radiographic evaluation was performed in six animals. Comparisons to domestic carnivores were made and functional morphologic changes were identified. A suprahamate process was present on the scapula spine. Both supratrochlear and supracondylar foramina were present in the distal humerus, with a small Fossa coronoidea seen cranially. The medial epicondyle was markedly larger than the lateral epicondyle. The Tuberositas radii was located caudally. The proximal end of the olecranon was prominent medially. The large medial coronoid process had an extensive proximal articulation facet for the humeral trochlea. The ulna styloid process articulated with the ulnar and accessory carpal bones. The manus was similar to that of domestic carnivores; however, Os metacarpalis I was markedly reduced with the absence of the first digit. There were seven carpal bones. Os carpi radiale was the largest, with a large palmaro-medial process and a small sesamoid bone present medially. Ossa metacarpalia II–V and corresponding phalanges were slender, with an elongated Processus unguicularis (third phalanx) present. Radiologic findings demonstrated increased mobility of the scapula and shoulder joint, with ease of abduction. On the cranio-caudal view of the humerus and elbow joint, the distal radius and manus were consistently rotated in a supinated position. Morphologic changes were identified for the enhanced, predominant function of the shoulder, elbow, carpal, and digital flexor muscles associated with superior digging ability, and supination of the antebrachium and manus. Reference values for size parameters of the long bones are reported. The findings will assist in clinical zoologic medicine and paleozoologic studies.
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