Functional osteology of the primate carpus with special reference to strepsirhini

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Abstract

Preuschoft et al. ([1993] in H. Preuschoft and D. Chivers (eds.): Hands of Primates. New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 245-256) used a theoretical biomechanical analysis to generate several predictions relating subordinal differences in primate hand proportions to differences in carpel morphology. This study tests these predictions using quantitative analyses of carpal morphology between extant haplorhine and strepsirhine primates. Results show that living strepsirhines have a significantly larger hamate hamulus than do haplorhines, supporting Preuschoft et al.'s (1993) predictions. Extant strepsirhines also have a significantly shorter pisiform body than do haplorhines and arboreal nonprimate eutherians and a larger scaphoid tubercle than New and Old World monkeys. These results contrast markedly with those expected under Preuschoft et al.'s (1993) model. Furthermore, strepsirhines and haplorhines do not differ significantly in the relative size of their radiocarpal articulations. These morphometric observations do not match the predicted morphological patterns because the kinematic assumptions upon which the biomechanical models are based are incorrect. Living strepsirhines appear to be derived in having very deep radial and ulnar margins of the carpal tunnel for well-developed extrinsic digital flexors. Moreover, tooth-combed prosimians differ from most haplorhines, early Tertiary adapiforms, and arboreal nonprimate eutherians in having a relatively short pisiform body, which gives the flexor carpi ulnaris less power to flex the wrist from extended (= dorsiflexed) positions. These structural observations suggest that powerful manual grasping and an emphasis on leaping and climbing, rather than palmigrade quadrupedal walking and running, are morphotypic for extant Strepsirhini.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Lemuriforms
  • Positional behavior
  • Postcranial evolution
  • Wrist morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology

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