Morphometrics of the callitrichid forelimb: A case study in size and shape

Anthony B. Falsetti, William L. Jungers, Theodore M. Colle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Mosimann and colleagues formulated a technique that distinguishes between size and shape, based on the concept of geometric similarity and the distinction between "log size-and-shape" and "log shape" variables. We extend these formulations in an examination of the forelimb of three callitrichid species (adult Saguinus oedipus, Saguinus fuscicollis, and Callithrix jacchus). We employ principal components analysis to explore the relationship between variance explained by size-and-shape versus shape alone. Independence of shape vectors is examined via correlation analysis. Then we use log shape data to construct intersample (species means) and total sample (between all paris of individuals) matrices of average taxonomic distances. These distance matrices are subjected to cluster analysis and principal coordinate ordinations. Results of principal components analysis suggest that after isometric size is removed, there remains sufficient shape information to discriminate among the three taxa. Careful examination and quantification of the relationships between shape and size suggest that size information (e.g., geometric mean) is fundamental for understanding shape differences within and among callitrichid species; in other words, most aspects of forelimb shape are significantly correlated with size. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we also demonstrate that such correlations are not "spurious". Ordinations and clustering of log shape distance matrices (based on means and individuals) support the notion that, despite differences in size, the two tamarins are more similar in shape than either is to C. jacchus (despite size similarity between S. fuscicollis and C. jacchus). Although shape variation in the forelimb of calliirichids may have a functional component, the phylogenetic signal remains strong and serves to group individuals accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-572
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • callitrichids
  • multivariate statistics
  • size and shape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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