Volume 47, No. 2

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3D modeling reveals functionality of a healed but malaligned leg fracture in a White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina


1Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics, Justus Liebig University, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32 (IFZ), 35392 Gießen, Germany
2Ornithological Section, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3School of Biological Science, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA


REICHERT, J., MAYR, G., WILKE, T. & PETERS, W.S. 2019. 3D modeling reveals functionality of a healed but malaligned leg fracture in a White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina. Marine Ornithology 47: 253 - 256

Received 26 June 2019, accepted 26 July 2019

Date Published: 2019/10/15
Date Online: 2019/09/29
Key words: bone fracture healing, long bone malalignment, 3D modeling, White-faced Storm Petrel, Pelagodroma marina, Ilhas Selvagens


We describe a deformed tibiotarsus in a museum skeleton of a White‑faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina (Oceanitidae), probably resulting from a healed but malaligned fracture. Digital 3D modeling of intertarsal joint kinematics suggested that the affected leg could support neither terrestrial walking locomotion nor the usual foraging activities on open water. Nonetheless, the bird survived, presumably because it employed alternative feeding strategies. Considering this case in the context of previous studies on hindlimb injuries in other storm petrels, we conclude that these birds experience high frequencies of leg injuries but low frequencies of leg fractures.


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