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The mark of captivity: plastic responses in the ankle bone of a wild ungulate (Sus scrofa)


CUCCHI, Thomas et al. (2020), The mark of captivity: plastic responses in the ankle bone of a wild ungulate (Sus scrofa), Dryad, Dataset,


Deciphering the plastic (non-heritable) changes induced by human control over wild animals in the archaeological record is challenging. We hypothesized that changes in locomotor behaviour in a wild ungulate due to mobility control could be quantified in the bone anatomy. To test this, we experimented the effect of mobility reduction on the skeleton of wild boar (Sus scrofa), using the calcaneus shape as a possible phenotypic marker. We first assessed differences in shape variation and covariation in captive reared and wild caught wild boars, taking into account differences in sex, body mass, available space for movement, and muscle force. This plastic signal was then con-trasted with the phenotypic changes induced by selective breeding in domestic pigs. We found that mobility reduction induces a plastic response beyond the shape variation of wild boars in their natural habitat, associated with a reduction in the range of locomotor behaviors and muscle loads. This plastic signal of captivity in the calcaneus shape differ from the main changes induced by selective breeding for larger muscle and earlier development that impacted the pigs’ calcaneus shape in a much greater extent than the mobility reduction during the domestication process of their wild ancestors.


Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Award: ANR-13-JSH3-0003-01,LabEx ANR-10-LABX-0003-BCDiv

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle