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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-23587

Monnet, C; Zollikofer, C; Bucher, H; Goudemand, N (2009). Three-dimensional morphometric ontogeny of mollusc shells by micro-computed tomography and geometric analysis. Palaeontologia electronica, 12(3/12A):1-13.



As one of the essential components of the fossil record, shells of molluscs provide crucial data for taxonomic, phylogenetic or evolutionary studies. The mollusc shell has often very few discrete morphological characters, and its most important character is its three-dimensional (3-D) geometry, which is well diversified, continuous and highly integrated. However, standard morphometric methods remain mostly two-dimensional (2-D) and do not account for the ontogenetic changes of the shell, which are preserved thanks to its accretionary mode of growth. This study proposes a new non-destructive method enabling acquisition of three-dimensional quantitative morphometric parameters that thoroughly describe the geometry of coiled mollusc shells throughout their ontogeny. First, digital three-dimensional data of a shell is acquired by means of microcomputed tomography, which produces a series of grey-scaled, two-dimensional images. Second, all these stacked images are processed to obtain a three-dimensional reconstruction of the shell, from which a centreline is extracted. Finally, the geometry of shell aperture through ontogeny is extracted by successive cross-sectioning of the shell with a succession of planes, each of these being perpendicular to this centreline. The resulting outlines of the successive apertures can be quantified by elliptic Fourier analysis. These geometric parameters, coupled with the displacement vector of the successive cross-sectioning planes, constitute an n-dimensional morphometric space, in which ontogenetic trajectories of different individuals and species can be compared. The approach proposed in this study provides a basis for the quantitative analysis of growth patterns within and across species.


4 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
07 Faculty of Science > Anthropological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Uncontrolled Keywords:three-dimensional morphometry , mesh analysis , curve-skeleton , gastropod , accretionary growth , ontogeny
Deposited On:02 Nov 2009 09:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:31
Publisher:Coquina Press
Official URL:http://palaeo-electronica.org/2009_3/183/index.html

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