Evolutionary morphology of the Tenrecoidea (Mammalia) hindlimb skeleton

J Morphol. 2009 Mar;270(3):367-87. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10697.


The tenrecs of Central Africa and Madagascar provide an excellent model for exploring adaptive radiation and functional aspects of mammalian hindlimb form. The pelvic girdle, femur, and crus of 13 tenrecoid species, and four species from the families Solenodontidae, Macroscelididae, and Erinaceidae, were examined and measured. Results from qualitative and quantitative analyses demonstrate remarkable diversity in several aspects of knee and hip joint skeletal form that are supportive of function-based hypotheses, and consistent with studies on nontenrecoid eutherian postcranial adaptation. Locomotor specialists within Tenrecoidea exhibit suites of characteristics that are widespread among eutherians with similar locomotor behaviors. Furthermore, several characters that are constrained at the subfamily level were identified. Such characters are more indicative of postural behavior than locomotor behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Fibula / anatomy & histology
  • Hindlimb / anatomy & histology*
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology*
  • Pelvis / anatomy & histology
  • Skeleton*
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology