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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 973537, 5 pages
Research Article

The Vertebral Column, Ribs, and Sternum of the African Giant Rat (Cricetomys gambianus Waterhouse)

1Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta 110124, Ogun, Nigeria
2Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan 200213, Oyo, Nigeria
3Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Received 19 August 2013; Accepted 9 September 2013

Academic Editors: B. Durgun, B. B. Huat, and B. Roelen

Copyright © 2013 Matthew Ayokunle Olude et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Examined bones were obtained from eight adult African giant rats, Cricetomys gambianus Waterhouse. Animals used had an average body mass of  gm and body length of  cm. The vertebral formula was found to be C7, T13, L6, S4, Ca31–36. The lowest and highest points of the cervicothoracic curvature were at C5 and T2, respectively. The spinous process of the axis was the largest in the cervical group while others were sharp and pointed. The greatest diameter of the vertebral canal was at the atlas (0.8 cm) and the lowest at the caudal sacral bones (2 mm). The diameter of the vertebral foramen was the largest at C1 and the smallest at the S4; the foramina were negligibly indistinct caudal to the sacral vertebrae. There were 13 pairs of ribs. The first seven pairs were sternal, and six pairs were asternal of which the last 2-3 pairs were floating ribs. The sternum was composed of deltoid-shaped manubrium sterni, four sternebrae, and a slender processus xiphoideus. No sex-related differences were observed. The vertebral column is adapted for strong muscular attachment and actions helping the rodent suited for speed, agility, dexterity, and strength which might enable it to overpower prey and escape predation.