Relative Growth of the Skull of the Common Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) Using a 3D Laser Surface Scanner

Abstract: Growth-related morphological changes in the skulls of an ontogenetic series of 11 North Pacific common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were investigated using a three-dimensional (3D) surface laser scanner. Landmark coordinate measurements were taken at 30 points on the skull to extract individual allometric equa¬tions relating the length and zygomatic width of the skull. Comparisons were made with estimates of the surface areas of various skull components. The results revealed that the anatomical components involved in feeding (i.e., rostrum) increased in size relative to skull length. In contrast, sensory organs and the anatomical regions involved in neu¬rological function (i.e., orbit, tympanic bullae, and foramen magnum) were fully developed at birth, and their relative size decreased over the course of development. Geometric morphometric studies such as the one described herein benefit from the capture of 3D images of specimens, making the process of sample acquisition faster, less expensive, and more readily available to researchers.
Key Words: geometric morphometrics, 2D and 3D images, allometry, minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Document: Article
Page Numbers: 529-537

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