Lineal discrimination of horses and mules. A sympatric case from Arauca, Colombia
Jordana i Vidal, Jordi
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This is the first morphological comparative study between local horses and mules from Arauca, Colombia. It was realized to compare morphological traits between both species by analysing 15 adult mules (7 males and 8 females) and 150 adult horses (137 males and 13 females), with an age interval from 2 to 22 years. Data consisted of 24 different body quantitative traits which can explain the body conformation: thoracic circumference, body length (BL), thoracic depth and width, withers height (WH), sternum height, shoulders width, chest width, forelimb cannon perimeter and length, head length and width, skull length and width, face length and width, ear length and width, loin height, croup height (CrH), width and length, dock height (DoH), and hock height. Heart girth circumference, body length, withers height, croup height, and dock height were the most discriminative traits, showing statistical differences between species. The formula is X = (BL × 0.402) + (WH × 0.323) + (CrH × 0.352) + (DoH × 0.384). A value of X > 184.5 assigns with total certainty that a skeleton belongs to a horse, and if X < 174.0, it is a mule. The proposed formula has a 100% specificity but a 71.4% sensibility for mules and an 84.4% for horses into the rank of 174.0-184.5. Therefore, results demonstrate that some postcranial anatomical elements of Equus could give enough information for a bone differentiation between horses and mules, at least in animals from the Araucan region, but the main interest is that it reflects the possibility to differentiate morphometrically both species from bone remains when horses and mules were sympatric.