Fine-Grained Differences within Positional Categories

A Case Study of Pithecia and Chiropotes
  • Suzanne E. Walker


The study of primate locomotion and posture has advanced considerably since its beginnings, approximately thirty years ago. Early studies were primarily concerned with inferring the locomotor behavior of the earliest hominids, using the living great apes as analogues (Ashton and Oxnard, 1963; Napier, 1963). A turning point for studies on locomotion and posture was the 1965 Primate Locomotion Symposium, organized by Warren Kinzey. In this symposium, the importance of field studies was first emphasized, as was the importance of distinguishing between locomotor categories based upon natural behavior rather than upon skeletal anatomy or observations of zoo animals (Kinzey, 1967). At the same time, Prost (1965) stressed the importance of a standardized system to classify positional (i.e., locomotor and postural) behavior, which would allow for more precise comparison between studies, and emphasized the importance of postural (in addition to locomotor) behaviors in shaping the postcranium.


Positional Behavior Locomotor Behavior Body Orientation Behavioral Category Support Characteristic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ashton EH, and Oxnard CE (1963) The musculature of the primate shoulder. Trans. Zool. Soc. London 29:553–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bock WJ, and von Wahlert G (1965) Adaptation and the form-function complex. Evolution 19:269–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boinski S (1989) The positional behavior and substrate use of squirrel monkeys: ecological implications. J. Hum. Evol. 18:659–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cant JGH, and Temerin LA (1984) A conceptual approach to foraging adaptations in primates. In PS Rodman and JGH Cant (eds.): Adaptations for Foraging in Nonhuman Primates. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 249–279.Google Scholar
  5. Cant JGH (1988) Positional behavior of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) in northern Sumatra. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 76:29–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cartmill M (1985) Climbing. In M Hildebrand, DM Bramble, KF Liem, and DB Wake (eds.): Functional Vertebrate Morphology. Cambridge: Belknap Press, pp. 73–88.Google Scholar
  7. Cartmill M, and Milton K (1977) The lorisiform wrist joint and the evolution of “brachiating” adaptations in the Hominoidea. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 47:249–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cavanagh GA (1977) Storage and utilization of elastic energy in skeletal muscle. Exercise Sports Sci. Rev. 5:89–129.Google Scholar
  9. Crompton RH (1984) Foraging, habitat structure and locomotion in two species of Galago. In PS Rodman and JGH Cant (eds.): Adaptations for Foraging in Nonhuman Primates. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 73–111.Google Scholar
  10. Dagosto M (1994) Testing positional behavior of Malagasy lemurs. A randomization approach. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 94:189–202.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Doran D (1992) Comparison of instantaneous and locomotor bout sampling methods: a case study of adult male chimpanzee locomotor behavior and substrate use. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 89:85–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Erickson GE (1957) The hands of New World primates, with comparative functional observations on the hands of other primates. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 15:446.Google Scholar
  13. Fleagle JG (1977) Locomotor behavior and skeletal anatomy of sympatric Malaysian leaf-monkeys (Presbytis obscura and Presbytis melalophos). Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 46:297–308.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fleagle JG, and Meldrum DJ (1988) Locomotor behavior and skeletal morphology of two sympatric pitheciine monkeys, Chiropotes satanas and Pithecia pithecia. Am. J. Primatol. 16:227–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fleagle JG, and Mittermeier RA (1980) Locomotor behavior, body size, and comparative ecology of seven Surinam monkeys. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 52:301–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fontaine R (1990) Positional behavior in Saimiri boliviensis and Ateles geoffroyi. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 82:485–508.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Garber PA (1980) Locomotor Behavior and Feeding Ecology of the Panamanian Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus geoffroyi, Callitrichidae, Primates). Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington University.Google Scholar
  18. Garber PA (1991) A comparative study of positional behavior in three species of tamarin monkeys. Primates 32:219–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gebo DL (1992) Locomotor and postural behavior in Alouatta palliata and Cebus capucinus. Am. J. Primatol. 26:277–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gebo DL, and Chapman CA (1995) Positional behavior in five sympatric Old World monkeys. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 97:49–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hill WCO (1960) Primates: Comparative Anatomy and Taxonomy, Vol. IV. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hunt KD (1992) Positional behavior ofPan troglodytes in the Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks, Tanzania. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 87:83–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hunt KD, Cant JGH, Gebo DL, Rose MD, Walker SE, and Youlatos DL (1996) Standardized descriptions of primate locomotor and postural modes. Primates 37:363–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jolly CJ (1965) Origins and Specialisations of the Long-faced Cercopithecoids. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of London.Google Scholar
  25. Kay RF (1990) The phyletic relationships of extant and fossil Pitheciinae (Platyrrhini, Anthropoidea). In JG Fleagle and AL Rosenberger (eds.): The Platyrrhine Fossil Record. New York: Academic Press, pp. 175–208.Google Scholar
  26. Kinzey WG (1967) Preface to symposium on primate locomotion. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 26:115–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mendel F (1976) Postural and locomotor behavior ofAlouatta palliata on various substrates. Folia Primatol. 26:36–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morbeck ME (1976) Leaping, bounding and bipedalism in Colobus guereza: a spectrum of positional behavior. Yrbk. Phys. Anthropol. 20:408–420.Google Scholar
  29. Napier JR (1962) Monkeys and their habitats. New Scientist 295:84–88.Google Scholar
  30. Napier JR (1963) Brachiation and brachiators. Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond. 10:183–195.Google Scholar
  31. Oxnard, C (1984) The Order of Man. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Parolin P (1993) Forest inventory in an island of Lake Guri, Venezuela. In W Barthlott, CM Naumann, K Schmidt-Loske, and KL Schuchmann (eds.): Animal-Plant Interactions in Tropical Environments, Proc. German Soc. Tropical Ecology, Bonn, pp. 139-147.Google Scholar
  33. Pernia JE (1985) Mapa de Fisiografia y Vegetacion del Area de Inundacion de la Tercera Etapa del Embalse el Guri — Estado Bolivar. Internal manuscript: CVG — Electrificacíon del Caroni (EDELCA), Venezuela.Google Scholar
  34. Peters A, and Preuschoft H (1984) External biomechanics of leaping in Tarsius and its morphological and kinematic consequences. In Niemitz C (ed.): Biology of Tarsiers. New York: Gustav Fisher Verlag, pp. 227–255.Google Scholar
  35. Prost J (1965) A definitional system for the classification of primate locomotion. Am. Anthropol. 67:1198–1214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Remis M (1995) Effects of body size and social context on the arboreal activities of lowland gorillas in the Central African Republic. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 97:413–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ripley S (1967) The leaping of langurs: a problem in the study of locomotor adaptation. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 26:149–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ripley S (1977) Gray zones and gray langurs: is the “semi”-concept seminal? Yrbk. Phys. Anthropol. 20:376–394.Google Scholar
  39. Rodman PS (1979) Skeletal differentiation of Macaca fascicularis and Macaca nemestrina in relation to arboreal and terrestrial quadrupedalism. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 51:51–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rose MD (1974) Postural adaptations in New and Old World monkeys. In FA Jenkins (ed.): Primate Locomotion. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 75–93.Google Scholar
  41. Rose MD (1979) Positional behavior of natural populations: some quantitative results of a field study of Colobus guereza and Cercopithecus aethiops. In ME Morbeck, D Preuschoft and N Gomberg (eds.): Environment, Behavior and Morphology: Dynamic Interactions in Primates. New York: Gustav Fischer Verlag, pp. 75–94.Google Scholar
  42. Rosenberger AL, and Stafford BJ (1994) Locomotion in captive Leontopithecus and Callimico: a multimedia study. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 94:379–394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schön Ybarra MA, and Schön III MA (1987) Positional behavior and limb bone adaptations in red howling monkeys (Alouatta seniculus). Folia Primatol. 49:70–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Walker SE (1993) Positional Adaptations and Ecology of the Pitheciini. Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York.Google Scholar
  45. Walker SE (1996) Evolution of positional behavior in the saki/uakaris (Pithecia, Chiropotes, Cacajao). In M Norconk, AL Rosenberger and P Garber (eds.): Advances in Primatology: Adaptive Radiations of Neotropical Primates. New York: Plenum, pp. 335–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Walker SE (in revision) Leaping behavior ofPithecia pithecia and Chiropotes satanas, and the importance of leaping in primate locomotion. Submitted to Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 41 ms. pages.Google Scholar
  47. Ward SC, and Sussman RW (1979) Correlates between locomotor anatomy and behavior in two sympatric species of Lemur. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 50:575–590.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne E. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA

Personalised recommendations