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Can orbital angle morphology distinguish dogs from wolves?

Overview of attention for article published in Zoomorphology, December 2015
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  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (71st percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (66th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 tweeter
1 Wikipedia page


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Readers on

18 Mendeley
Can orbital angle morphology distinguish dogs from wolves?
Published in
Zoomorphology, December 2015
DOI 10.1007/s00435-015-0294-3
Pubmed ID

Luc Janssens, Inge Spanoghe, Rebecca Miller, Stefan Van Dongen


For more than a century, the orbital angle has been studied by many authors to distinguish dog skulls from their progenitor, the wolf. In early studies, the angle was reported to be different between dogs (49°-55°) and wolves (39°-46°). This clear difference was, however, questioned in a more recent Scandinavian study that shows some overlap. It is clear that in all studies several methodological issues were unexplored or unclear and that group sizes and the variety of breeds and wolf subspecies were small. Archaeological dog skulls had also not been studied. Our goal was to test larger and more varied groups and add archaeological samples as they are an evolutionary stage between wolves and modern dogs. We also tested the influence of measuring methods, intra- and inter-reliability, angle symmetry, the influence of variations in skull position and the possibility of measuring and comparing this angle on 3D CT scan images. Our results indicate that there is about 50 % overlap between the angle range in wolves and modern dogs. However, skulls with a very narrow orbital angle were only found in wolves and those with a very wide angle only in dogs. Archaeological dogs have a mean angle very close to the one of the wolves. Symmetry is highest in wolves and lowest in archaeological dogs. The measuring method is very reliable, for both inter- and intra-reliability (0.99-0.97), and most skull position changes have no statistical influence on the angle measured. Three-dimensional CT scan images can be used to measure OA, but the angles differ from direct measuring and cannot be used for comparison. Evolutionary changes in dog skulls responsible for the wider OA compared to wolf skulls are mainly the lateralisation of the zygomatic process of the frontal bone. Our conclusion is that the orbital angle can be used as an additional morphological measuring method to discern wolves from recent and archaeological dogs. Angles above 60° are certainly from recent dogs. Angles under 35° are certainly of wolves.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 18 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Portugal 1 6%
France 1 6%
Unknown 16 89%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 7 39%
Unspecified 3 17%
Student > Ph. D. Student 3 17%
Student > Master 2 11%
Other 1 6%
Other 2 11%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 10 56%
Unspecified 4 22%
Arts and Humanities 1 6%
Environmental Science 1 6%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 1 6%
Other 1 6%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 4. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 30 August 2017.
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Altmetric has tracked 12,221,286 research outputs across all sources so far. This one has received more attention than most of these and is in the 72nd percentile.
So far Altmetric has tracked 207 research outputs from this source. They receive a mean Attention Score of 3.7. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 332,344 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 6 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than 3 of them.