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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 8;108(45):18221-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1112822108. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Algorithms to automatically quantify the geometric similarity of anatomical surfaces.

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1
Anthropology and Archaeology Department, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY 11210, USA. douglasmb@gmail.com

Abstract

We describe approaches for distances between pairs of two-dimensional surfaces (embedded in three-dimensional space) that use local structures and global information contained in interstructure geometric relationships. We present algorithms to automatically determine these distances as well as geometric correspondences. This approach is motivated by the aspiration of students of natural science to understand the continuity of form that unites the diversity of life. At present, scientists using physical traits to study evolutionary relationships among living and extinct animals analyze data extracted from carefully defined anatomical correspondence points (landmarks). Identifying and recording these landmarks is time consuming and can be done accurately only by trained morphologists. This necessity renders these studies inaccessible to nonmorphologists and causes phenomics to lag behind genomics in elucidating evolutionary patterns. Unlike other algorithms presented for morphological correspondences, our approach does not require any preliminary marking of special features or landmarks by the user. It also differs from other seminal work in computational geometry in that our algorithms are polynomial in nature and thus faster, making pairwise comparisons feasible for significantly larger numbers of digitized surfaces. We illustrate our approach using three datasets representing teeth and different bones of primates and humans, and show that it leads to highly accurate results.

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PMID:
22025685
PMCID:
PMC3215009
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1112822108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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