A novel method for quantifying femoral neck anteversion: A case study in extinct and extant sloths

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Extinct sloths represent a wide range of morphological, locomotor, and body size variation. Researchers have examined femoral neck angle in two dimensions to hypothesize locomotor behaviors in this group; however, this measure does not account for femoral neck anteversion. Here, we present a new method for quantifying femoral neck anteversion angle, in addition to femoral neck angle, to capture the 3D position of the femoral head/neck. Femora of extant (n = 21; Bradypus and Choloepus) and extinct (n = 49; Acratocnus, Megalocnus, Neocnus, and Parocnus) sloths were surface scanned and their surface models used to calculate three angles of femoral neck anteversion and femoral neck angle. Femoral neck anteversion was calculated as the angle between the femoral neck axis and the geometric axis of the femoral condyles (GA), the 35% cross section axis, and a trochanter axis. Femoral neck angle was calculated as the angle between the femoral neck and shaft axes. Genera were compared using ANOVAs with post hoc multiple comparisons for each angle. Femoral neck angle and femoral neck anteversion relative to the cross section were also analyzed. Significant differences among genera exist for all angles, (p < .001) but not all angles separate all genera. Femoral neck and anteversion angles typically yield different results, demonstrating the utility of analyzing both angles. The GA and cross section angles are highly correlated in sloths, with the exception of comparisons among Megalocnus, Parocnus, and Neocnus, suggesting morphological variation in the distal femur. While this method was applied to sloths, it has broad applicability to mammalian groups.

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Anatomical Record


This article was published in Anatomical Record.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.24416

Copyright © 2020 American Association for Anatomy.

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