From the ground up: Integrative research in primate locomotion

Am J Phys Anthropol. 2015 Apr;156(4):495-7. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22725. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Primate locomotor adaptation and evolution is a principal and thriving area of research by biological anthropologists. Research in this field generally targets hypotheses regarding locomotor kinetics and kinematics, form-function associations in both the soft and hard tissue components of the musculoskeletal system, and reconstructing locomotor behavior in fossil primates. A wide array of methodological approaches is used to address adaptive hypotheses in all of these realms. Recent advances in three-dimensional shape capture, musculoskeletal physiological measurements, and analytical processing technologies (e.g., laser and CT-scans, 3D motion analysis systems, finite element analysis) have facilitated the collection and analysis of larger and more complex locomotor datasets than previously possible. With these advances in technology, new methods of form-function analyses can be developed to produce a more thorough understanding of how form reflects an organism's mechanical requirements, how shape is influenced by external environmental factors, and how these investigations of living taxa can inform questions of primate paleobiology. The papers in this special section of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology present research that builds on that foundation, by combining new data on living primates and new methodologies and approaches to answer a range of questions on extant and extinct primates.

Keywords: experimental data; functional morphology; locomotion; positional behavior; postcrania.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Anthropology, Physical*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Biological Evolution
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Primates / physiology*