Quantitative genetics of skeletal nonmetric traits in the rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago. I. Single trait heritabilities

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1981 Jan;54(1):43-9. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1330540106.


The use of skeletal nonmetric traits in studies of biological relationships often involves the assumption that variation in these traits is genetic. Studies of nonmetric traits in human groups and in inbred strains of mice and rabbits have indicated a genetic component to nonmetric trait variation. Skeletons of animals with known matrilineage membership were obtained from the Cayo Santiago skeletal collection in order to obtain a direct estimate of the heritabilities of several nonmetric traits in the free-ranging population of rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago. Falconer's (1965) method was used to calculate heritability. Heritability estimates range from zero to one, and half of them are greater than 0.5. This indicates that there is a considerable amount of genetic variation for these traits among the Cayo macaques. There is a significant tendency for traits scoring the number of foramina to have lower heritabilities than those scoring hyperstotic or hypostotic traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Macaca / genetics*
  • Macaca mulatta / genetics*