The functional morphology of the prosimian hindlimb: some correlates between anatomy and positional behavior
Anemone, Robert Louis, 1955-
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Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in the functional morphology and ecology of the prosimian primates. Napier and Walker's (1967) vertical clinging and leaping hypothesis focused interest on the presence of saltatory adaptations in the hindlimb of certain prosimians. This dissertation presents a functional analysis of locomotor and postural adaptations in the hindlimb of leaping and quadrupedal prosimians designed to test morphological aspects of the vertical clinging and leaping hypothesis.Osteological measurements were taken on the pelvis, femur, and tarsus of a total of 277 post-cranial skeletons representing 8 families and 16 genera. Lengths of the long bones and the skeletal trunk length (Biegert and Maurer 1972) were also collected for each specimen; the former were used in studies of overall limb proportions and skeletal allometry, and the latter was used as an estimator of bodily size. A series of ratios was calculated for the pelvic, femoral, tarsal, and limb proportion data, and multiple discriminant function analysis was utilized in the analysis of pelvic and femoral data. Regression analysis was used to study allometric patterns in forelimb and especially hindlimb length.My results indicate the presence of two very different morphological patterns in the hindlimb of extant prosimian leapers. Galagidae and Tarsiidae are linked by the possession of a series of specialized traits in the pelvis, proximal femur, and especially, by an elongate tarsus. The hindlimb among Indriidae and Lepilemuridae, along with that of other "hindlimb-dominant" Lemuriformes, demonstrates a very different gestalt. These different patterns can be seen in both bivariate and multivariate analyses, and in allometric investigations. The functional and biomechanical significance of hindlimb traits of leaping prosimians is discussed, along with the implications of these results for the vertical clinging and leaping hypothesis.
- Anthropology