The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Cranial morphology of the Gerenuk



Quick facts

Project title: 
Postnatal development of the skull in gerenuks (Litocranius walleri)
ZFMK Project lead: 


Among antelopes, the gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) is unique since it browses almost exclusively on tree-foliage at great heights by standing on its hind legs. In addition to this peculiar behavior, the gerenuk is exceptional in having a distinct adult cranial morphology including a very elongate and thick occiput. The development of the typical shape of the occipital bone is a postnatal process, but to date the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We use 3D geometric morphometric for investigating the changes in skull shape from juvenile to adult gerenuks. In addition, sectioning of antelope heads help to understand which muscles might play a role in the morphological changes.


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