I am in the early stages of designing a study involving a moose (Alces alces) population.

An often-true heuristic is that body parts of an animal monotonically increases in size. There likely exist counterexamples for certain choices of animals and body parts, but I think in the case I am interested in there is likely stochastic comonotonicity.

Assume that we see a moose's tracks (e.g. INat 112977489, INat 112971980, and INat 112971692) without the presence of the moose itself. The prints in the snow can collapse and distort footprints, but I am willing list those problems as limitations of the calculation. It is also the case that in the snow I do not necessarily get a flat print, which could lead to difficult-to-measure tracks either because it is hard to measure the depth of the toes as holes or that the toes appear shorter than they actually are. In some cases I will apply interval arithmetic to any calculations when I think the size of the track is roughly guessable. Often the front hooves are measurable, and rarely the posterolateral dewclaws. Anyway, my point is not to go through all of the problems, but just to show you that I am aware that even on the face of it this is an analysis that requires assumptions and tentativeness.

What I am looking for is a published mathematical function that I can plug measures on the footprints into and get estimates of the body length out.

$$\operatorname{Body Length} \approx f(\operatorname{Footprint Measurements})$$

Such a relation would probably be dependent on whether the moose was a juvenile, an adult female, or an adult male. But even a marginal relation might be useful. I don't care if the relationship is in a particular choice of units as long as I can convert back to metric.

Has anyone fitted (and hopefully evaluated, etc) such a model?

  • $\begingroup$ Related: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/107876/… $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Apr 26, 2022 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ And this paper? jstor.org/stable/1937779?seq=3 $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Apr 26, 2022 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ @bob1 I am getting a 404 Error with the link to the thesis. $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Apr 26, 2022 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think I found it based on details in the URL: Lundmark 2008 $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Apr 26, 2022 at 22:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Correct. Lundmark is the one for that. I've deleted the comment as it turns up 404 for me too. Worked when I copied and pasted, don't know what happened in between. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Apr 26, 2022 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


Yes - I found a paper published in 1978 by Franzen et al "Alaskan moose measurements and weights and measurement-weight relationships" 1

In this paper they looked at a number of parameters and found that they were all correlated with body weight:

A total of 1329 Alaskan moose (Alces alces gigas) were measured for total length, 1340 for chest girth, 1317 for hind foot, 618 for shoulder height, and 1219 for ear length. Five hundred and four moose were weighed. ...

...All body measurements were significantly correlated with weight: total length, r (correlation coefficient) = 0.94; chest girth, r = 0.90; shoulder height, r = 0.87; and hind foot, r = 0.81

There are some nice tables and plots with data over age (in months) and separated by sex, as well as combined data.

1: Albert W. Franzmann, Robert E. LeResche, Robert A. Rausch, and John L. Oldemeyer. Alaskan moose measurements and weights and measurement–weight relationships. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 56(2): 298-306. https://doi.org/10.1139/z78-040


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