3 years ago

Intraspecific variation in the domestic cat bony labyrinth revealed by different measurement techniques

Intraspecific variation in the domestic cat bony labyrinth revealed by different measurement techniques
Rico Schellhorn
The knowledge of intraspecific variation is important to make assumptions on an interspecific level. To study intraspecific variation in the bony labyrinth morphology of the domestic cat, eleven specimens of Felis silvestris catus and two additional subspecies (F. s. lybica, F. s. ornata) were investigated. The sample comprises skulls of adult males and females, as well as juvenile cats. Each bony labyrinth endocast was virtually reconstructed based on µCT scans. To estimate the radius of curvature of each inner ear semicircular canal, three different approaches were tested. The comparison of the different methods resulted in different absolute values for the measured radii. The assumed best structure to precisely characterize the size of a semicircular canal is the inner perimeter. Within the tested sample, the anterior semicircular canal is always the largest, while the posterior semicircular canal is the second largest and the lateral semicircular canal the smallest in most cases. The coefficient of variation lies below 10% for all bony labyrinth measurements within the sample. The inner perimeter values of each semicircular canal are similar within all investigated specimens, even though the skull length of adult cats is twice as long as that of juvenile cats. Thus, inner ear biometry of the domestic cat seems stable throughout growth series and can therefore be used for systematic and ecological studies and the inclusion of juvenile individuals is reasonable. It is noteworthy that the inner perimeter values of the semicircular canals do not vary as much as the values of the angles spanned between the three canals within the sample. The inner ear within the cat skull is oriented about 25° to 31° to the palate (angle between the plane anchored to the lateral semicircular canals (SC) and the plane anchored to the palate). The cochlea coils between 3.00 and 3.25 turns in the investigated sample. The size dimensions of the domestic cat bony labyrinth were measured and while the skull length of an adult cat (left) is twice the length of a juvenile cat skull (right) the inner ears are of similar size in both ontogenetic stages.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20781

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