Do forelimb shape and peak forces co-vary in strepsirrhines?
In this study, we explore whether ground reaction forces recorded during horizontal walking co-vary with the shape of the long bones of the forelimb in strepsirrhines. To do so, we quantify (1) the shape of the shaft and articular surfaces of each long bone of the forelimb, (2) the peak vertical, mediolateral, and horizontal ground reaction forces applied by the forelimb during arboreal locomotion, and (3) the relationship between the shape of the forelimb and peak forces.
Materials and methods
Geometric morphometric approaches were used to quantify the shape of the bones. Kinetic data were collected during horizontal arboreal walking in eight species of strepsirrhines that show variation in habitual substrate use and morphology of the forelimb. These data were then used to explore the links between locomotor behavior, morphology, and mechanics using co-variation analyses in a phylogenetic framework.
Our results show significant differences between slow quadrupedal climbers (lorises), vertical clinger and leapers (sifaka), and active arboreal quadrupeds (ring-tailed lemur, ruffed lemur) in both ground reaction forces and the shape of the long bones of the forelimb, with the propulsive and medially directed peak forces having the highest impact on the shape of the humerus. Co-variation between long bone shape and ground reaction forces was detected in both the humerus and ulna even when accounting for differences in body mass.
These results demonstrate the importance of considering limb-loading beyond just peak vertical force, or substrate reaction force. A re-evaluation of osseous morphology and functional interpretations is necessary in light of these findings.
Fabre, A-C; Granatosky, MC; Hanna, JB; Schmitt, D
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