The Bumpus house sparrow data: A reanalysis using structural equation models

Evolutionary Ecology
By:  and 



We analysed the data of H.C. Bumpus on the survival of house sparrows (Passer domesticus) using structural equation modelling techniques. Using data on seven morphological variables measured by Bumpus, we tested and confirmed a three-factor model that characterized physical attributes for general size, leg size and head size. Although males were physically larger than females, we found no difference between males and females in the physical attributes as measured by the three factors. Survival increased significantly with increasing general size and was unrelated to leg size and head size. Wing length, independent of its relationship to the general size factor, was also significantly related to survival. Higher survival was found among birds with short wings. Males had a higher survival compared to females. Their higher survival was mediated, to a lesser extent indirectly, through greater size and, to a greater extent directly, through effects of unknown origin. We favour the use of structural equation modelling methods in studies of selection because of their ability to test and confirm or disconfirm hypotheses related to selection events.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Bumpus house sparrow data: A reanalysis using structural equation models
Series title Evolutionary Ecology
DOI 10.1007/BF01237725
Volume 10
Issue 4
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 18 p.
First page 387
Last page 404