Finite-element scaling analysis (FIESCA) is a deformation technique that can be used to determine the difference between forms. The first application of this method to biological objects was by Jack Lewis and colleagues (Lewis et al., 1980). Cheverud (Cheverud et al., 1983) was the first to apply it to research problems in biological anthropology. Richtsmeier and colleagues used it extensively to characterize and compare morphologies and growth patterns (e.g., (Corner and Richtsmeier, 1992; Richtsmeier and Cheverud, 1986a; Richtsmeier and Cheverud, 1986b; Richtsmeier et al., 1993a; Richtsmeier et al., 1993b; Richtsmeier and Lele, 1990; Richtsmeier and Walker, 1993). The discovery that element design played a role in the results given by finite-element scaling analysis (Richtsmeier et al., 1990) prompted the development of alternative morphometric methods (see the Purple Book  and EDMA pages of this website). Still finite-element scaling analysis provides interesting graphic displays of the differences between forms.G. Robert Morris wrote the FIESCA programs offered here for download (Morris, 1989).

The programming was supported by a Whitaker Foundation grant to Richtsmeier.FIESCA enables the comparison of two samples. FIESCB enables you to run the program in “batch” mode (yes, this program was written in the 1980s). A short manual is available for download that includes examples of element types. The program runs from the DOS prompt. Several example files are available for the user to download and experiment with, but you are on your own! This program is not currently maintained or supported by Dr. Morris or anyone in the Richtsmeier lab.

Example data files

(these are the def*.dat, ref*.dat, and mf*.* files)

  • REF1
  • REF2
  • REF3
  • REF4

  • DEF1.DAT
  • DEF2.DAT
  • DEF3.DAT
  • DEF4.DAT

References Cited

  1. Cheverud J, Lewis J, Bachrach W, and Lew W (1983) The measurement of form and variation in form: an application of three-dimensional quantitative morphology by finite-element methods. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 62:151-165.
  2. Corner BD, and Richtsmeier JT (1992) Experiments of nature: premature unicoronal cranial synostosis in mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata). Cleft Palate Craniofac J 29:143-51.
  3. Lewis J, Lew W, and Zimmerman J (1980) A nonhomogeneous anthropometric scaling method based on finite element principles. J. Biomech 13:815-824.
  4. Morris G (1989) FIESCA: Software for th application of FESA in biological research. Baltimore: Department of Civil Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University.
  5. Richtsmeier J, and Cheverud J (1986a) Finite element scaling analysis of normal growth of the human craniofacial complex. J. Craniofac. Genet. Dev. Biol. 6:289-323.
  6. Richtsmeier J, Morris G, Marsh J, and Vannier M (1990) The biological implications of varying element design in finite-element scaling analyses of growth. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, pp. 387-388.
  7. Richtsmeier JT, and Cheverud JM (1986b) Finite element scaling analysis of human craniofacial growth. J Craniofac Genet Dev Biol 6:289-323.
  8. Richtsmeier JT, Cheverud JM, Danahey SE, Corner BD, and Lele S (1993a) Sexual dimorphism of ontogeny in the crab eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis). Journal of Human Evolution 25:1-30.
  9. Richtsmeier JT, Corner BD, Grausz HM, Cheverud JM, and Danahey SM (1993b) The role of postnatal growth pattern in the production of facial morphology. Sytematic Biology 42:307-330.
  10. Richtsmeier JT, and Lele S (1990) Analysis of craniofacial growth in Crouzon syndrome using landmark data. J Craniofac Genet Dev Biol 10:39-62.
  11. Richtsmeier JT, and Walker A (1993) Morphometric analysis of facial growth in Homo erectus. In RE Leakey and A Walker (eds.): The Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton. Boston: Harvard University Press, pp. 391-410.