Background Deviations from the perfect symmetry of normally bilateral symmetrical characters occur during individual development due to the influence of multiple factors. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is the random developmental variation of a trait (or character) that is perfectly symmetrical, on average, across a population. Directional asymmetry (DA) occurs when one side of the pair of body sides is strongly more marked. Objective We investigated the presence and level of skull FA and DA in the Araucan horse, a breed from East Colombia. Study Design A sample of 21 skulls belonging to adult animals was studied by means of standard geometric–morphometric methods using 16 landmarks on the dorsal aspect of the crania. Results Measurements showed a significant DA with a consistent rightward shift of the splanchnocrania. Conclusions The results of this study raise questions about the influence of masticatory biomechanics on the asymmetric development of the skull, and also about how management and ingesta-specific properties (such as abrasiveness) may influence this asymmetry.
This study aimed to evaluate the allometric growth of the Araucan pig breed, a creole breed from Arauca, East Colombia, locally known as “Sabaneros”, in relation to different quantitative traits and considering genders separately. To do this, a total of 31 male and 27 female Araucan pigs, ranging from 4 to 48 months of age, were studied in order to evaluate their growth patterns, using a multivariate approach. Animals belonged to different farms (“fincas”) of the Department of Arauca, Colombia. From each individual, 10 quantitative traits were obtained: face width, croup height, croup length, croup width, tail base height, hock height, loin height, cannon length, and length and width of ear. Our results, which must be interpreted as preliminary, showed that the Araucan pig is allometrically monomorphic as sexual differences do not increase with body size. We suggest that although males and females have evidently different reproductive roles, during growth they shift the allocation of energy to structures linked to environmental adaptation rather than those linked to reproduction.
This is the first morphological comparative study between local horses and mules from Arauca, Colombia. It was realized to compare morphological traits between both species by analysing 15 adult mules (7 males and 8 females) and 150 adult horses (137 males and 13 females), with an age interval from 2 to 22 years. Data consisted of 24 different body quantitative traits which can explain the body conformation: thoracic circumference, body length (BL), thoracic depth and width, withers height (WH), sternum height, shoulders width, chest width, forelimb cannon perimeter and length, head length and width, skull length and width, face length and width, ear length and width, loin height, croup height (CrH), width and length, dock height (DoH), and hock height. Heart girth circumference, body length, withers height, croup height, and dock height were the most discriminative traits, showing statistical differences between species. The formula is X = (BL × 0.402) + (WH × 0.323) + (CrH × 0.352) + (DoH × 0.384). A value of X > 184.5 assigns with total certainty that a skeleton belongs to a horse, and if X < 174.0, it is a mule. The proposed formula has a 100% specificity but a 71.4% sensibility for mules and an 84.4% for horses into the rank of 174.0–184.5. Therefore, results demonstrate that some postcranial anatomical elements of Equus could give enough information for a bone differentiation between horses and mules, at least in animals from the Araucan region, but the main interest is that it reflects the possibility to differentiate morphometrically both species from bone remains when horses and mules were sympatric.
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.
The ability of an individual to withstand random perturbations during its development is considered a good indicator of environmental and genetic stress. A common means of assessing developmental stability is through analysis of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) in bilateral traits. Tortoises, with their large, solid plastron, allow for measurement of body geometry. Their bilateral shell scutes are ideal candidates for asymmetries researches. With this issue in mind we assessed, as a preliminary study, levels of plastron scute asymmetry in a sample of 46 red-footed tortoise Chelonoidis carbonaria from Arauca, N Colombia. We found significative fluctuating asymmetry (FA) but no directional asymmetry, the former not increasing with carapace size and thus indicating that tortoise shells do not become increasingly asymmetrical with age, or in other words, signaling that FA is not being influenced by pholidosis (variability of scale cover mosaic according to the development of the scutes). Asymmetry in plastron shape, although not necessarily apparent at first glance, varied, with gender with males exhibiting higher levels of FA than females. Although we can not identify the potential sources of variation responsible for the observed patterns of developmental instability, we consider this detected form of asymmetry due to unfavorable environmental conditions.
Native plants constitute an enormous source of nutrients for grazing animals, although their use has been limited due to the lack of knowledge about its properties. The aim of this research was to evaluate the nutritional characteristics of native plants from flooded savannas ecosystem. Seven transects (290 km) were carried out through the montane forests, gallery forests and open savannah ecosystems. A total of 42 plant species were collected (22 arboreal, 13 shrubs, 5 climbing and 2 herb plants) and their nutritional composition and digestibility were evaluated. Data analysis included univariate and multivariate methods. Nutritional composition and digestibility varied among the groups of arboreal, shrub, climbing and herb species. At an individual level plants such as G. americana, C. cf minor-grandiflora and M. nobilis, A.Jahnii, P. hispidium, I. carnea, S. reticulate, H. furcellatus, and C. erosa stood out by their protein, ash, and digestibility. At a group level, a mixed of 19 plants presented the highest digestibility, and the lowest fiber fraction constituted a promising forage alternative. Data variability was explained in the 47% by protein, ash, digestibility, and the different fiber fractions variables. Further studies related with the animal acceptability, performance and the presence of secondary metabolites are needed before being fully recommended.
Se recurrió al estudio por morfometría geométrica de 42 cráneos de equinos de diversas razas domésticas. Se obtuvo una fotografía digital del plano dorsal de cada cráneo, sobre la que se situaron siete hitos craneométricos, que incluían puntos, tanto del neuro como del viscerocráneo. Se comprueba que el proceso ontogénico de los équidos domésticos se ajusta a la regla del CREA (“Cranial Evolutionary Allometric”), por la que existe un patrón alométrico común entre taxones de mamíferos, por el cual las especies más pequeñas presentarían caras más cortas y cráneos más anchos que las especies de mayor tamaño. Se acepta una dolicoprosopia correlacionada con la dolicocefalia, o dicho de otro modo, una hipermorfo¬sis facial (puesto que la anchura facial también tiene un comportamiento similar al de la longitud de la cara) paralela al aumento del tamaño de la cabeza para los équidos domésticos.
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