Morphometrics of a wild Asian elephant exhibiting disproportionate dwarfism

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Shermin de SilvaTennekoon V Pushpakumara


Dwarfism is a condition characterized by shorter stature, at times accompanied by differential skeletal growth pro-portions relative to the species-typical physical conformation. Causes vary and well-documented in humans as well as certain mammalian species in captive or laboratory conditions, but rarely observed in the wild. Here we report on a single case of apparent dwarfism in a free-ranging adult male Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus ) in Sri Lanka, comparing physical dimensions to those of other males in the same population, males in other populations, and records in previous literature. The subject was found to have a shoulder height of approximately 195cm, is shorter than the average height of typical mature males, with a body length of 218cm. This ratio of body length to height deviates from what is typically observed, which is approximately 1:1. In absolute height the subject was similar to the attributes of a captive elephant documented in 1955 in Sri Lanka, also said to be a dwarf, however the two specimens differed in the relative proportions of height vs. body length. The subject also exhibits a slight elongation of the skull. We discuss how this phenotype compares to cases of dwarfism in other non-human animals.

Related Concepts

Morphometric Analysis
Asiatic Elephants
Wild bird
Population Group
Skeletal Muscle Tissue Growth

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