Hind limb morphometry of terror birds (Aves, Cariamiformes, Phorusrhacidae): Functional implications for substrate preferences and locomotor lifestyle

Authors
Degrange, Federico Javier
Publication Year
2017
Language
English
Format
article
Status
Published version
Description
The hind limbs of birds have long been considered a key feature in the conquest of different environments. However, the high level of morphological diversity encountered complicates the foundation of a good theoretical correlation between morphology, locomotor habits and substrate preference and this, in turn, complicates palaeobiological interpretations. Phorusrhacids (Aves, Cariamiformes) are a good example, since they have been unequivocally categorised as terrestrial birds due to their reduced forelimbs; and as apex predators with the ability to pursue prey based only on their hind limb morphology. Multivariate techniques (PCA and discriminant analysis), based on traditional metrics and geomorphometrics of the hind limb and pelvis, were applied in order to explore terrestriality and cursoriality in phorusrhacids. Although several groups of birds could be identified, when looking solely at hind limb metrics, some phorusrhacids appear to be associated with walking birds, while others are associated with cursorial birds. However, the pelvis separates cursorial birds and phorusrhacids from walking and wading birds. This scenario is complicated further by a lack of clear definition of the different locomotor modes and substrate preferences in extant birds, and this makes it difficult to confirm phorusrhacid cursoriality based solely on morphometrics. However, some qualitative features of the pelvis and foot make the picture a little clearer. To study limb adaptations in fossil birds, a more holistic study, with an emphasis on qualitative features of the whole posterior locomotor module, is necessary, since morphometrics leaves some issues unresolved. A comparison with the wings is also needed, in order to make a more complete analysis of locomotor behaviour.
Fil: Degrange, Federico Javier. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales. Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Tierra; Argentina
Subject
ECOMORPHOLOGY
FUNCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY
HIND LIMBS
PALAEOBIOLOGY
PHORUSRHACIDS
Meteorología y Ciencias Atmosféricas
Ciencias de la Tierra y relacionadas con el Medio Ambiente
CIENCIAS NATURALES Y EXACTAS
Access level
Restricted access
License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ar/
Repository
CONICET Digital (CONICET)
Institution
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
OAI Identifier
oai:ri.conicet.gov.ar:11336/44728