, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 359-360
Date: 05 Apr 2011

In defence of the slim dodo: a reply to Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré

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Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré (2011) question our method of estimating the mean mass of the dodo by claiming that tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus lengths cannot be used for such mass estimates “because different bird species of the same weight can show considerable differences in the lengths of these two bones”. This is indeed obvious from the graphs published by Zeffer et al. (2003), which we have used in our paper, but those graphs also show differences in femur length for the same body mass which are not negligible, contrary to what Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré seem to imply. We do not agree that femur length “hardly participates in leg length”, for the simple reason that the femur is a segment of the leg, whatever its position relative to the body, and takes part in locomotion (even though it does not move much, as pointed out by Campbell and Marcus 1992). Although Louchart and Mourer-Chauviré consider that the coefficient correlation squares (R2) for tibiotarsi and tarsometatarsi a ...

This is a reply to Louchart A, Mourer-Chauviré C (2011) The Dodo was not so slim: leg dimensions and scaling to body mass. Naturwissenschaften 98: DOI 10.1007/s00114-011-0771-6