Primate quadrupedalism: how and why does it differ from that of typical quadrupeds?

Brain Behav Evol. 1989;34(6):357-64. doi: 10.1159/000116522.


Primate quadrupedalism has been reported to differ from that of typical mammals in a variety of features, the most discussed of which is footfall patterns. All prior explanations for this disparity have been based on morphological differences between primates and nonprimates. This paper questions the adequacy of the current and generally accepted explanation for these locomotor differences, which is based upon hypothesized differences in the location of the center of gravity. Additionally, it is suggested here that neurological factors rather than morphological ones primarily explain the unique attributes of primate quadrupedalism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Electromyography
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Primates / physiology*
  • Species Specificity*