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The Functional and Allometric Implications of Hipbone Trabecular Microarchitecture in a Sample of Eutherian and Metatherian Mammals


Webb, Nicole M (2021). The Functional and Allometric Implications of Hipbone Trabecular Microarchitecture in a Sample of Eutherian and Metatherian Mammals. Evolutionary Biology, 48(3):346-365.

Abstract

The pelvis plays an active role in weight bearing and countering the ground reaction forces incurred by the hindlimbs thus making it a critical component of the locomotor skeleton. Accordingly, this anatomical region is theoretically ideal for inferring locomotor behavior from both external skeletal morphology and trabecular microarchitecture, with the latter possibly offering nuanced insights into the mechanical loading environment given its increased plasticity and higher turnover rate. However, trabecular microarchitecture is also known to be influenced by a variety of factors including body size, sex, age, genetic regulation, diet and activity level, that collectively hinder the ability to generate consistent functional inferences. In this study, a comparative sample of mammals (42 species spanning four orders) of varying sizes, yet comparable locomotor repertoires, were evaluated to determine the effects of body size, phylogeny and locomotion on hipbone trabecular microarchitecture. This study found a weak functional signal detected in differences in bone volume fraction and the degree of anisotropy across certain pre-assigned locomotor categories, while confirming previously recognized allometric scaling trends reported for other mammalian samples based on the femur. Within primates, a more anisotropic pattern was observed for quadrupedal species attributed to their repetitive loading regimes and stereotypical limb excursions, while isotropic values were revealed for taxa utilizing more varied arboreal repertoires. Humans, despite a frequent and predictable loading environment associated with their use of bipedalism, showed relatively isotropic values. This study highlights the confounding factors that influence trabecular microarchitecture and consequently limit its utility as a method for investigating locomotor adaptation.

Abstract

The pelvis plays an active role in weight bearing and countering the ground reaction forces incurred by the hindlimbs thus making it a critical component of the locomotor skeleton. Accordingly, this anatomical region is theoretically ideal for inferring locomotor behavior from both external skeletal morphology and trabecular microarchitecture, with the latter possibly offering nuanced insights into the mechanical loading environment given its increased plasticity and higher turnover rate. However, trabecular microarchitecture is also known to be influenced by a variety of factors including body size, sex, age, genetic regulation, diet and activity level, that collectively hinder the ability to generate consistent functional inferences. In this study, a comparative sample of mammals (42 species spanning four orders) of varying sizes, yet comparable locomotor repertoires, were evaluated to determine the effects of body size, phylogeny and locomotion on hipbone trabecular microarchitecture. This study found a weak functional signal detected in differences in bone volume fraction and the degree of anisotropy across certain pre-assigned locomotor categories, while confirming previously recognized allometric scaling trends reported for other mammalian samples based on the femur. Within primates, a more anisotropic pattern was observed for quadrupedal species attributed to their repetitive loading regimes and stereotypical limb excursions, while isotropic values were revealed for taxa utilizing more varied arboreal repertoires. Humans, despite a frequent and predictable loading environment associated with their use of bipedalism, showed relatively isotropic values. This study highlights the confounding factors that influence trabecular microarchitecture and consequently limit its utility as a method for investigating locomotor adaptation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 September 2021
Deposited On:14 Oct 2022 07:42
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0071-3260
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11692-021-09543-z
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversität Zürich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)