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Lyncodon patagonicus

Adult, Extant, Skeleton

Alt Name:
Patagonian weasel
Mammifères et Oiseaux, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle
Specimen ID:
CG 1897-422
Additional Media:
This is a scan of Lyncodon patagonicus. Wild caught. If you use this scan in a study, paper: do not forget to acknowledge the collection (Mammifères et Oiseaux, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle), the curator (Géraldine Véron), and the ‘plate-forme de morphométrie’ of the UMS 2700 (CNRS, MNHN) for access to the surface scanner as well as myself for scanning (A.-C. Fabre). Furthermore, a final version of the publication using this scan must be send to Géraldine Véron (
Fabre A.-C., R. Cornette, S. Peigné and A. Goswami
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110(1):91-103
In the majority of mammals, the limbs are positioned under the body and play an important role in gravitational support, allowing the transfer of the load and providing stability to the animal. For this reason, an animal’s body mass likely has a significant effect on the shape of its limb bones. In the present study, we investigate the influence of body mass variation on the shape of the three long bones of the forelimb in a group of closely-related species of mammals: the musteloid carnivorans. We use geometric morphometric techniques to quantify forelimb shape; then estimate phylogenetic signal in the shape of each long bone; and, finally, we apply an independent contrasts approach to assess evolutionary associations between forelimb shape and body mass. The results obtained show that body mass evolution is tightly coordinated with the evolution of forelimb shape, although not equally in all elements. In particular, the humeral and radial shapes of heavier species appear better suited for load bearing and load transmission than the ulna. Nevertheless, our results also show that body mass influences only part of forelimb long bone shape and that other factors, such as locomotor ecology, must be considered to fully understand forelimb evolution.


Fabre A.-C., R. Cornette, G. Slater, C. Argot, S. Peigné, A. Goswami and E. Pouydebat
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26(7):1521-1535
The ability to grasp and manipulate is often considered a hallmark of homi-
nins and associated with the evolution of their bipedal locomotion and tool
use. Yet, many other mammals use their forelimbs to grasp and manipulate
objects. Previous investigations have suggested that grasping may be derived
from digging behaviour, arboreal locomotion or hunting behaviour. Here,
we test the arboreal origin of grasping and investigate whether an arboreal
lifestyle could confer a greater grasping ability in musteloid carnivorans.
Moreover, we investigate the morphological adaptations related to grasping
and the differences between arboreal species with different grasping abilities.
We predict that if grasping is derived from an arboreal lifestyle, then the
anatomical specializations of the forelimb for arboreality must be similar to
those involved in grasping. We further predict that arboreal species with a
well-developed manipulation ability will have articulations that facilitate
radio-ulnar rotation. We use ancestral character state reconstructions of life-
style and grasping ability to understand the evolution of both traits. Finally,
we use a surface sliding semi-landmark approach capable of quantifying the
articulations in their full complexity. Our results largely confirm our predic-
tions, demonstrating that musteloids with greater grasping skills differ mark-
edly from others in the shape of their forelimb bones. These analyses
further suggest that the evolution of an arboreal lifestyle likely preceded the
development of enhanced grasping ability




Lyncodon patagonicus humerus

3D / Web GL