Allometry of the limb long bones of insectivores and rodents

J Morphol. 1987 May;192(2):113-23. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051920204.


In an attempt to investigate the relationships between allometry and locomotory adaptations, we studied the long limb bones of 45 species of insectivores and rodents. Animals ranged from a few grams to about 50 kilograms. Diameter and length of the bones and body mass (when known) were recorded. Regressions of diameter to length, diameter to body mass, and length to body mass were calculated by the least-squares and Model II, or major axis, methods. The results obtained do not agree with the predictions of either the theory of geometric similarity or the theory of elastic similarity. The discrepancies could be due to the fact that animals studied exhibit various modes of locomotion. Moreover, the allometric relationships of the different locomotor patterns are better reflected in insectivores and rodents than in other groups of mammals. The use of a single regression analysis seems to be inadequate when the sample includes a large range of body sizes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Humerus / anatomy & histology
  • Insectivora / anatomy & histology*
  • Rodentia / anatomy & histology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology
  • Ulna / anatomy & histology