English name: Functional Morphology Department|
Parent institute: Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Dierkunde van Antwerpen vzw; Centre for research and conservation (KMDA-CRC), more
|The relationship between form and function of animals is the subject of Functional Morphological research. By studying this relationship, the department may, for example, try to understand why swifts have small, slender wings but storks have large, broad wings. Or why bushbabies jump so much better than the closely related loris.
At the Centre for Research and Conservation, various functional morphological issues are tackled. Tehy study the form of animals (in the broad sense) by dissections, CT imaging, but also by biomechanical measurements. How an animal with a specific form functions (i.e. meets the task it has to fulfil) is studied by a wide array of techniques. Movement analysis (often with high-speed video) allows them to see what really happens, whereas recordings of forces and pressures (e.g. of walking apes) enables us to get a grip on the (bio-)mechanical conditions an animal encounters.