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Journal Articles Journal of the Royal Society Interface Year : 2020

A comparison of metrics for quantifying cranial suture complexity


Cranial sutures play critical roles in facilitating postnatal skull development and function. The diversity of function is reflected in the highly variable suture morphology and complexity. Suture complexity has seldom been studied, resulting in little consensus on the most appropriate approach for comparative, quantitative analyses. Here, we provide the first comprehensive comparison of current approaches for quantifying suture morphology, using a wide range of two-dimensional suture outlines across extinct and extant mam- mals (n = 79). Five complexity metrics (sinuosity index (SI), suture complexity index (SCI), fractal dimension (FD) box counting, FD madogram and a wind- owed short-time Fourier transform with power spectrum density (PSD) calculation) were compared with each other and with the shape variation in the dataset. Analyses of suture shape demonstrate that the primary axis of variation captured attributes other than complexity, supporting the use of a complexity metric over raw shape data for sutural complexity analyses. Each approach captured different aspects of complexity. PSD successfully discrimi- nates different sutural features, such as looping patterns and interdigitation amplitude and number, while SCI best-captured variation in interdigitation number alone. Therefore, future studies should consider the relevant attributes for their question when selecting a metric for comparative analysis of suture variation, function and evolution.
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hal-02996152 , version 1 (26-11-2021)



Heather White, Julien Clavel, Abigail Tucker, Anjali Goswami. A comparison of metrics for quantifying cranial suture complexity. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2020, 17 (171), pp.20200476. ⟨10.1098/rsif.2020.0476⟩. ⟨hal-02996152⟩
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