Terrestrial mammal three-dimensional photogrammetry: multispecies mass estimation

Published on 2016-08-10T13:44:44Z (GMT) by
<p>Assessing body mass in mammals is of importance as it influences virtually all aspects of mammal physiology, behavior and ecological parameters. However, the assessment of body mass of large mammals is potentially dangerous and logistically challenging. Photogrammetry (measurements through the use of photographs) is a well-established science. In zoology it has been used with varying success to estimate the size and mass of some marine and terrestrial mammal species. However, photogrammetric body mass estimation of terrestrial mammals has received comparatively little attention. This is largely due to species' variable morphological attributes which complicates measurement especially if, for 3D orientation, photogrammetric models are dependent on identifiable features on the animals themselves. Ninety-two individuals belonging to 16 terrestrial mammalian species were weighed and photographed for body mass estimation using a volumetric photogrammetry method, purposely applied with commercially available software. This method is not dependent on identifiable body features for 3D orientation. Measured body mass ranged from 25 kg to 4060 kg. Photogrammetric mass estimates versus physically weighed mass was plotted and the goodness of fit assessed for each species. Body size, shape and physiological attributes influence the accuracy of body mass estimation between species (although consistent within species), largely attributed to morphological features (e.g., hair length and posture). This photogrammetric method accurately estimated the body mass of several terrestrial mammal species. It represents innovative use of photographs to create calibrated three-dimensional imagery for accurate quantification of mammalian metrics, specifically body volume and mass. Advances of a method that is not subject to species, sex or age is advantageous and suitable for wide application in our effort to model population demography.</p>

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Postma, M.; Tordiffe, A. S. W.; Hofmeyr, M. S.; Reisinger, R. R.; Bester, L. C.; Buss, P. E.; et al. (2016): Terrestrial mammal three-dimensional photogrammetry: multispecies mass estimation. Wiley. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3308814.v1