Human Evolution

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 177-188

First online:

Allometric scaling in palaeontology: A critical survey

  • M. A. HofmanAffiliated withNetherlands Institute for Brain Research

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Allometric scaling models, used to describe morphological and functional relationships between two sets of observations, are examined both in concept and in application. This paper focuses on the underlying assumptions and statistics of the methods most frequently used: linear regression, principal axis and standard major axis analysis. It is shown that the standard major axis (SMA) is the most appropriate bivariate linear model in palaeonotological research. Differences among the models discussed are illustrated by a morphometric analysis of dental dimensions in australopithecines.

Key words

Allometry Standard major axis Regression models Australopithecus Dental metrics