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Comparative morphometry of bactrian camel and dromedary


Martini, Pietro; Schmid, Peter; Costeur, Loïc (2017). Comparative morphometry of bactrian camel and dromedary. Journal of Mammalian Evolution:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

There are two living species of Old World camelids (Camelidae, Artiodactyla): the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and the dromedary (Camelus dromedarius). Differences in osteology between them are poorly known, and this lack of knowledge hinders archaeological and paleontological research. Previous comparative studies have focused on subtle qualitative differences, which are subject to great intraspecific variation and interspecific overlap. In this study, we use simple morphometric methods and statistical analyses to compare the skeleton of Old World camels. Over the entire skeleton we were able to find several consistent differences, some univocal and highly diagnostic, others only slightly significant and noticeable only at a population level. Some of the distinctive traits are suggestive of previously unknown biological adaptations. In particular, the cranial anatomy of Bactrian camels shows characters correlated with increased grazing, while its limb muscle attachments may indicate additional need for lateral stability in a heavier animal. The presence and number of humps is reflected in the vertebral column, with several differences that will be helpful in the reconstruction of fossil species.

Abstract

There are two living species of Old World camelids (Camelidae, Artiodactyla): the Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and the dromedary (Camelus dromedarius). Differences in osteology between them are poorly known, and this lack of knowledge hinders archaeological and paleontological research. Previous comparative studies have focused on subtle qualitative differences, which are subject to great intraspecific variation and interspecific overlap. In this study, we use simple morphometric methods and statistical analyses to compare the skeleton of Old World camels. Over the entire skeleton we were able to find several consistent differences, some univocal and highly diagnostic, others only slightly significant and noticeable only at a population level. Some of the distinctive traits are suggestive of previously unknown biological adaptations. In particular, the cranial anatomy of Bactrian camels shows characters correlated with increased grazing, while its limb muscle attachments may indicate additional need for lateral stability in a heavier animal. The presence and number of humps is reflected in the vertebral column, with several differences that will be helpful in the reconstruction of fossil species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:15 Jan 2018 20:32
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:20
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1064-7554
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10914-017-9386-9

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