Pendular motion in the brachiation of captive Lagothrix and Ateles.
Pendular motion during brachiation of captive Lagothrix lagothricha lugens and Ateles fusciceps robustus was analyzed to demonstrate similarities, and differences, between these two closely related large bodied atelines. This is the first captive study of the kinematics of brachiation in Lagothrix. Videorecordings of one adult male of each species were made in a specially designed cage constructed at the DuMond Conservancy/Monkey Jungle, Miami, FL. Java software (Jandel Scientific Inc., San Rafael, CA) was used for frame-by-frame kinematic analysis of individual strides/steps. Results demonstrate that the sequence of hand and tail contacts differ significantly between the two species with Lagothrix using a new tail hold with every hand hold, while Ateles generally utilizes a new tail hold with only every other hand hold. Stride length and stride frequency, even after adjusting for limb length, also differ significantly between the two species. Lagothrix brachiation utilizes short, choppy strides with quick hand holds, while Ateles uses long, fluid strides with longer hand holds. During brachiation not only is Lagothrix's body significantly less horizontal than that of Ateles but also, within Ateles, there are significant differences between steps depending on tail use. Because of the unique nature of tail use in Ateles, many aspects of body positioning in Lagothrix more closely resemble Ateles steps without a simultaneous tail hold rather than those with one. Overall pendulum length in Lagothrix is shorter than in Ateles. Tail use in Ateles has a significant effect on maximum pendulum length during a step. Although neither species achieves the extreme pendulum effect and long period of free-flight of hylobatids in fast ricochetal brachiation, in captivity both consistently demonstrate effective brachiation with brief periods of free-flight and pendular motion. Morphological similarities between ateline brachiators and hylobatids are fewer and less pronounced in Lagothrix than in Ateles. This study demonstrates that Lagothrix brachiation is also less hylobatid-like than that of Ateles.
Turnquist, JE; Schmitt, D; Rose, MD; Cant, JG
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