Document Detail

Functional morphology of cercopithecoid primate metacarpals.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20226498     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The primate fossil record suggests that terrestriality was more common in the past than it is today, particularly among cercopithecoid primates. Whether or not a fossil primate habitually preferred terrestrial substrates has typically been inferred from its forelimb anatomy. Because extant large-bodied terrestrial cercopithecine monkeys utilize digitigrade hand postures during locomotion, being able to identify if a fossil primate habitually adopted digitigrade postures would be particularly revealing of terrestriality in this group. This paper examines the functional morphology of metacarpals in order to identify osteological correlates of digitigrade versus palmigrade hand postures. Linear measurements were obtained from 324 individuals belonging to digitigrade and palmigrade cercopithecoid species and comparisons were made between hand posture groups. Digitigrade taxa have shorter metacarpals, relative to both body mass and humerus length, than palmigrade taxa. Also, digitigrade taxa tend to have metacarpals with smaller dorsoventral diameters, relative to the product of body mass and metacarpal length, compared to palmigrade taxa. The size and shape of the metacarpal heads do not significantly differ between hand posture groups. Multivariate analyses suggest that metacarpal shape can only weakly discriminate between hand posture groups. In general, while there are some morphological differences in the metacarpals between hand posture groups, similarities also exist that are likely related to the fact that even digitigrade cercopithecoids can adopt palmigrade hand postures in different situations (e.g., terrestrial running, arboreal locomotion), and/or that the functional demands of different hand postures are not reflected in all aspects of metacarpal morphology. Therefore, the lack of identifiable adaptations for specific hand postures in extant cercopithecoids makes it difficult to determine a preference for specific habitats from fossil primate hand bones.
Biren A Patel
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2010-03-12
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of human evolution     Volume:  58     ISSN:  1095-8606     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Hum. Evol.     Publication Date:  2010 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-04-19     Completed Date:  2010-07-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0337330     Medline TA:  J Hum Evol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  320-37     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8081, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Cercopithecus / anatomy & histology*,  physiology*
Locomotion / physiology
Metacarpal Bones / anatomy & histology*,  physiology*
Multivariate Analysis

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