Claws are found in a huge range of vertebrates, ranging from reptiles and birds to mammals. These pointed structures at the tips of digits, usually covered by a sheath of keratin, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes that can vary considerably between species and even between limbs or digits of an individual. Claws can be used in many ways, such as climbing, grasping prey or digging. The morphological form of a structure (or rather, the shape of a structure) is often used as a guide to help understand its biomechanical function, but the large diversity of claw shapes has made it difficult to understand the link between the shape of the claws and how they are used. While previous studies have attempted to link claw shape to where the animal lives in its habitat, the link between...

You do not currently have access to this content.