On the use of shape spaces to compare morphometric methods
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Department of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New York
Publication date: 2000-06-25
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2000;11(1)
Abstract Several methods have been proposed to use differences in configurations of landmark points to measure the amount of shape difference between two structures. Shape difference coefficients ignore differences in the configurations that could be due to the effects of translation, rotation, and scale. One way to understand the differences between these methods is to compare the multidimensional shape spaces corresponding to each coefficient. This paper compares Kendall's shape space, Kendall tangent space, the shape spaces implied by EDMA-I and EDMA-II test statistics, the shape space of log size-scaled inter-landmark distances, and the shape space implied by differences in angles of lines connecting pairs of landmarks. The case of three points in the plane (i.e., landmarks at the vertices of a triangle) is given special emphasis because the various shape spaces can be illustrated in just 2 or 3 dimensions. The results of simulalions are shown both for random samples of all possible triangles as well as for normally distributed independent variation at each landmark. Generalizations to studies of more than three landmarks are suggested. It is shown that methods other than those based on Procrustes distances strongly constrain the possible results obtained by ordination analyses, can give misleading results when used in studies of growth and evolutionary trajectories.