The functional morphometrics of the hip and thigh in leaping prosimians

C. E. Oxnard, R. German, J. E. McArdle

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25 Scopus citations


Examination of the form of the hip and thigh through discriminant function analysis of a series of 15 osteometric indices taken upon 289 specimens of 20 sets of leaping prosimians distinguishes four groups. Around a centrally located group of the various species of Lemur are three separate rays: one containing the three indriid genera (Propithecus, Indri, and Avahi), a second including the galagines and Tarsius, and a third comprising the two species of Cheirogaleus and the genus Microcebus. The lemurine genus Lepilemur lies intermediately between the central group of lemurs and the indriids. The lemurine genus Hapalemur lies intermediately between, on the one hand, the centrally located group of lemurs, and on the other, each of the two groups, cherogaleines and galagines-plus-tarsiers. The arrangements of the particular species within each of these last two groups separately is from those that leap least to those that leap most. Given that the structure of the hip and thigh is related to the biomechanical demands of leaping, the existence of these separate morphological groups implies the existence of different biomechanical modes of leaping. Such meager taxonomic and behavioral information as is available seems to support this idea, although it is not impossible that other aspects of the behaviors of the animals may also be associated. This information sets up a series of new behavioral hypotheses that might be tested by better field and laboratory studies aimed more precisely at locomotion. And this information may be useful in helping to make assessments of particular fossils and in helping determine how various prosimian locomotor modes may have evolved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-498
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology


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