Reconstruction of Hip Joint Function in Extant and Fossil Primates

  • Laura MacLatchy


The strepsirhines engage in a variety of locomotor behaviors, including vertical clinging and leaping, active arboreal quadrupedalism and deliberate climbing and suspension. In each of these locomotor modes, hip abduction plays a role in enabling an animal to move in the complex, three-dimensional arboreal realm (Figure 1). For instance, hip abduction characterizes clinging postures prior to leap take-off in galagos, indriids and Lepilemur (Anemone, 1990; Demes et al., 1996; Demes, pers. com.). Abducted hip postures also occur among above-branch quadrupeds such as cheirogaleids and many lemurids who primarily walk, run and leap, but who also climb and engage in hindlimb suspension (Oxnard et al., 1990), both of which require moderate hip abduction. In turn, lorisids, such as the potto, frequently use highly abducted hip postures and even on the ground progress slowly with limbs abducted (Walker, 1969, 1979; Oxnard et al., 1990). Since hip abduction is such an important and variable component of hindlimb locomotion in extant small-bodied primates, the ability to reconstruct this behavior in small-bodied fossil primates should prove useful in determining their overall locomotor profile.


Femoral Head Femoral Shaft Lunate Surface Mouse Lemur Fossil Species 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura MacLatchy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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