Skeletal morphology of the forelimb of Myrmecophaga Tridactyla
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Anteater forelimbs are morphologically adapted to obtain food and to provide defense and locomotion. Four species are known, but there are few anatomical studies presenting the morphologic features of each species. The aim of this study was to describe the skeletal morphology of the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) forelimb. Pictures and schematic drawings of six cadavers were created to show the bone morphology. In addition, radiographs and computed tomographs were obtained. The skeletal structure of the forelimb had several notable anatomical features. The scapula had two spines, with apparent differences between infant and adult animals. The humerus had a pectoral ridge, a pectoral tubercle, and a pronounced medial epicondyle that represent the origins of muscles important for fossorial activity. The radius had cranial, lateral, and caudal ridges that became more prominent in older animals, and the distal condyle joint provided enhanced support of the dorsal articulation for the manus. Knowledge of the bone morphology of the forelimb generates a better understanding of giant anteater habits and helps in the diagnosis of skeletal abnormalities and in the routine medical assessment of this species.
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