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Open AccessArticle

A Comparison of Traditional and Geometric Morphometric Techniques for the Study of Basicranial Morphology in Horses: A Case Study of the Araucanian Horse from Colombia

1
Departament de Ciència Animal, ETSEA, Universitat de Lleida, 25198 Lleida, Spain
2
Grupo de Investigaciones los Araucos, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Arauca 810001, Colombia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010118
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 30 December 2019 / Accepted: 1 January 2020 / Published: 10 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morpho-Functional and Genetic Characterization of Local Breeds)
Skull size and shape have been widely used to study domestic animal populations and breeds. Although several techniques have been proposed to quantify cranial form, few attempts have been made to compare the results obtained by different techniques. In this study, two morphometric methods were compared for their ability in describing external morphology. The use of geometric morphometrics combined with multivariate statistical methods is an efficient way to characterize shape and size, thus allowing greater understanding of locally adapted breeds. The Araucanian horse from Colombia inhabits the eastern plains of Arauca. The objective was to compare linear and geometric morphometrics applied to the morphology of the skull of the Araucanian horse, specifically in the basal cranial region. Twenty dry skulls of adult males were examined and were separated into two age groups based on molar eruption and wear. A photograph was taken and a 100 mm scale was placed over each sample. Linear values were obtained from the distance between homologous points from a set of reference points. For the geometric morphometrics analysis, eight paired and five mid-sagittal reference points were used. The geometric morphometric method was more discriminant than linear morphometry and it provides more information about the contour and shape of the face. Future studies should aim to understand the role of phenotypic plasticity in equine race variations and their genetic basis.
Skull size and shape have been widely used to study domestic animal populations and breeds. Although several techniques have been proposed to quantify cranial form, few attempts have been made to compare the results obtained by different techniques. While linear morphometrics has traditionally been used in breed characterization, recent advances in geometric morphometrics have created new techniques for specifically quantifying shape and size. The objective of this study was to compare two morphometric methods for their ability to describe external morphology. For this purpose, 20 skull specimens of adult male Araucanian horses were examined. Two age categories were established (the “mature group”, M3 not fully erupted to moderately worn, n = 7; and the “senile group”, M3 totally erupted and highly worn, n = 13). Both methods showed that there were statistical differences between generations, but discrimination rates were different between methods with the geometric morphometric analysis obtaining a rate of 97.5%. Although linear morphometrics was found to be compatible with geometric morphometrics, the latter was better able to discriminate the two groups and it also provides more information on shape. View Full-Text
Keywords: allometry; criollo; phenotypic plasticity; skull; splanchnocranium allometry; criollo; phenotypic plasticity; skull; splanchnocranium
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MDPI and ACS Style

Parés-Casanova, P.M.; Salamanca-Carreño, A.; Crosby-Granados, R.A.; Bentez-Molano, J. A Comparison of Traditional and Geometric Morphometric Techniques for the Study of Basicranial Morphology in Horses: A Case Study of the Araucanian Horse from Colombia. Animals 2020, 10, 118.

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    Doi: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5416-5906
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