The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)

Three-dimensional photogrammetry of wild primates


1Interdepartmental Program in Ecology, Pennsylvania State University, 2Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College, 3Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, 4Department of Anthropology, California State University, Fullerton

April 16, 2016 , Atrium Ballroom A/B Add to calendar

The measurement of morphological traits in animals is critical to evolutionary and ecological hypothesis testing, but direct measurement is often not feasible in field settings. Consequently, scientists have devoted considerable attention to developing methods for the remote measurement of morphological traits. Digital photogrammetry is one convenient tool for this because it is non-invasive, accurate, and inexpensive. To date, however, most photogrammetric studies have been confined to two dimensions. Here we describe field-ready technology to accurately characterize the morphological traits of wild primates and other animals in three dimensions. Using a portable multi-camera array, we generate a calibrated and spatially referenced 3-dimensional morphological model using structure from motion (SFM) techniques. From these models, distance, area, and volume of morphological features can be measured. Here we present information on this technique and evidence of its validation based on measurements of osteological collections, domestic dogs, and wild gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) at the Guassa Plateau, Ethiopia. This method may help scientists establish more robust links between morphological metrics, performance, and reproductive success, particularly in the context of longitudinal field studies.

Funding from a National Geographic Waitt Grant