Published techniques for fitting data to nonlinear growth curves are briefly reviewed, most techniques require knowledge of the shape of the curve. A flexible growth curve developed by Richards (1959) is discussed as an alternative when the shape is unknown. The shape of this curve is governed by a specific parameter which can be estimated from the data. We describe in detail the fitting of a diverse set of longitudinal and cross-sectional data to Richards' growth curve for the purpose of determining the age of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) pups on the basis of right hind foot length. The fitted curve is found suitable for pups less than approximately 80 days old. The curve is extrapolated to pre-natal growth and shown to be appropriate only for about 10 days prior to birth.
Additional publication details
Fitting Richards' curve to data of diverse origins