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Ecomorphology of the cervid intermediate phalanx and its implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction

Gruwier, Ben J. and Kovarovic, Kris (2023) 'Ecomorphology of the cervid intermediate phalanx and its implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.', Journal of Morphology, 284 (1). e21528.


This paper reports on newly developed ecomorphological models for the cervid intermediate phalanx. Using a geometric morphometric approach, we quantitatively assess the overall gracility of the bone, the depth and concavity of the proximal articulation and the roundness and symmetry of the distal articulation in the intermediate phalanx, to establish relationships between morphology, locomotor behavior and environment. The morphology of the phalanx was found to vary along a gradient from gracile phalanges with shallow proximal articulations in forms adapted to yielding substrate, to robust phalanges with deeper proximal articulations in taxa adapted to firm substrate. Phylogeny and allometry are accounted for using regressions and phylogenetic comparative methods. Although the results indicate phylogeny explains part of the morphological variation, overall the shape of the intermediate phalanx appears mainly driven by differences in function. Consequently, this element promises to be a useful palaeoenvironmental proxy that can be applied on fossil assemblages with cervid remains.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 30 October 2023.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
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Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Gruwier, Ben J. & Kovarovic, Kris (2023). Ecomorphology of the cervid intermediate phalanx and its implications for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Journal of Morphology 284(1): e21528, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Date accepted:24 October 2022
Date deposited:24 January 2023
Date of first online publication:30 October 2022
Date first made open access:30 October 2023

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