Silhouette differences among cats do not suggest a general selection for paedomorphosis
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Paedomorphosis is the retention of juvenile morphology at maturity and is important in generating evolutionary change in domestic species and species in the wild. This preliminary study compared morphological characteristics of seven domestic cat pure breeds and felid species from around the world. An original procedure based on elliptical Fourier (EF) methods was applied to head lateral views of specimens and were assessed in order to analyse head profile. For comparative purposes three domestic kittens of different ages and three species of genus Lynx were also used. EF descriptors, allowed for the quantification of the head profile. Using the Fourier transform, reconstruction of the mean head profile revealed that there was a general shape difference between wild cats, domestic cats and kittens. Results suggested that variability in head profile differentiate quite well between adult cats and kittens, but domestic and wild cats appeared grouped into a similar cluster. The similarity between breeds can thus be attributed more to the general head profile than to flatness, i.e. to the general conformation rather than facial profile. Therefore, no effect of paedomorphism on the studied breeds can be undertaken. The present approach opens interesting ethnological perspectives for the aloidic characterisation for domestic breeds.