A field comes of age: geometric morphometrics in the 21st century
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Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames IA, 50011
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, 11794-5245
Department of Scientific Computing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306
Publication date: 2013-05-07
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2013;24(1):7–14
Twenty years ago, Rohlf and Marcus proclaimed that a "revolution in morphometrics" was underway, where classic analyses based on sets of linear distances were being supplanted by geometric approaches making use of the coordinates of anatomical landmarks. Since that time the field of geometric morphometrics has matured into a rich and cohesive discipline for the study of shape variation and covariation. The development of the field is identified with the Procrustes paradigm, a methodological approach to shape analysis arising from the intersection of the statistical shape theory and analytical procedures for obtaining shape variables from landmark data. In this review we describe the Procrustes paradigm and the current methodological toolkit of geometric morphometrics.
We highlight some of the theoretical advances that have occurred over the past ten years since our prior review (Adams et al., 2004), what types of anatomical structures are amenable to these approaches, and how they extend the reach of geometric morphometrics to more specialized applications for addressing particular biological hypotheses. We end with a discussion of some possible areas that are fertile ground for future development in the field.