Article

Cortical bone distribution in the femoral neck of hominoids: Implications for the locomotion of Australopithecus afarensis

Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio 44106; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106; Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (Impact Factor: 2.48). 08/1997; 104(1):117 - 131. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(199709)104:1<117::AID-AJPA8>3.0.CO;2-O

ABSTRACT Contiguous high resolution computed tomography images were obtained at a 1.5 mm slice thickness perpendicular to the neck axis from the base of the femoral head to the trochanteric line in a sample of 10 specimens each of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, and Gorilla gorilla, plus five specimens of Pan paniscus. Superior, inferior, anterior, and posterior cortical thicknesses were automatically measured directly from these digital images. Throughout the femoral neck H. sapiens displays thin superior cortical bone and inferior cortical bone that thickens distally. In marked contrast, cortical bone in the femoral neck of African apes is more uniformly thick in all directions, with even greater thickening of the superior cortical bone distally. Because the femoral neck acts as a cantilevered beam, its anchorage at the neck-shaft junction is subjected to the highest bending stresses and is the most biomechanically relevant region to inspect for response to strain. As evinced by A.L. 128-1, A.L. 211-1 and MAK-VP-1/1, Australopithecus afarensis is indistinguishable from H. sapiens, but markedly different from African apes in cortical bone distribution at the femoral neck-shaft junction. Cortical distribution in the African ape indicates much greater variation in loading conditions consistent with their more varied locomotor repertoire. Cortical distribution in hominids is a response to the more stereotypic loading pattern imposed by habitual bipedality, and thin superior cortex in A. afarensis confirms the absence of a significant arboreal component in its locomotor repertoire. Am J Phys Anthropol 104:117–131, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
38 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: I conducted quantitative analyses of the cross-sectional shape of the distal radial shaft in three species of macaques, which differ in locomotor behavior: semi-terrestrial Japanese macaques ( Macaca fuscata), arboreal long tailed macaques ( M. fascicularis), and relatively terrestrial rhesus macaques ( M. mulatta). I took CT scans of the distal radial shafts of a total of 180 specimens at the level of the inferior radio-ulnar articulation. From each CT image, the periosteal outline of the radius was traced automatically by a digital imaging technique. I determined five points (landmarks) on the outline by developing a standardized morphometric technique. Bone surface lengths were measured by using these landmarks and their soft tissue correlates were investigated. The results of this study were as follows: (1) Semi-terrestrial M. fuscata has features that are approximately intermediate between those of the other two species. M. fuscata has a relatively small groove for M. abductor pollicis longus and a large groove for Mm. extensor carpi radialis longus et brevis. These characters resemble those of M. fascicularis. On the other hand, the ulnar notch of M. fuscata is relatively large, a character which is similar to that of M. mulatta. Moreover, compared to the other two macaques, the surface of the flexor muscles of M. fuscata is intermediate in size. (2) The more terrestrial M. mulatta has a relatively large groove for M. abductor pollicis longus and a small groove for Mm. extensor carpi radialis longus et brevis. Moreover, M. mulatta has a relatively large ulnar notch and a small surface for the flexor muscles. (3) The arboreal M. fascicularis has similar features to those of M. fuscata for the first and second relative size index. However, in the ulnar notch, M. fascicularis has a peculiar character and the surface for the flexor muscles is relatively large compared to those of the other two species. These results can be interpreted in terms of positional habits and presumed functional demands. A form-functional study by Lemelin and Schmitt also corroborates the interpretations of the present study. Thus, the distal region of the forearm strongly reflects muscular development and joint resultant force, and is an important region for investigating locomotor adaptations in primates. The present study reveals the possibility of using this type of morphometric analysis for reconstructing the positional behavior of fossil primates.
    Primates 05/2004; 45(2):129-34. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We performed a comparative study of bone mechanical properties in the radii of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), humans (Homo sapiens), and Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) using peripheral quantitative computed tomography. We investigated: (1)cortical bone area relative to the total periosteal area (PrA); (2) trabecular bone area relative to PrA; (3) cortical bone density; and (4) trabecular bone density. The cortical bone area index for chimpanzees was almost the same as that of Japanese macaques, whereas the equivalent value in humans was about the two-fifths that of the others. Values for the other three properties were constant among these three catarrhine species. Chimpanzees do not particularly resemble humans, but are more similar to digitigrade macaques in terms of bone properties. The constant trabecular bone area index and trabecular density value in these species may suggest that a certain amount of trabecular bone (20-30% of total bone area at the distal 4% level of the forearm) is necessary to achieve normal bone turnover. The physiological metabolism of bone, including cortical bone density, might be conserved in these catarrhines.
    Primates 05/2003; 44(2):151-5. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We performed comparative analyses of four cross-sections of the distal radius and tibia in two species of macaque to clarify the relationships between bone morphology and locomotor type. The lengths of bones and five bone geometric properties in each section were examined and compared separately in both female and male Macaca mulatta and Macaca fascicularis. In M. mulatta, there were no significant gender-specific differences in either the radius or the tibia. In contrast, the radius and tibia of male M. fascicularis had greater geometric parameters in the 20% and 40% positions relative to the 5% and 10% positions from the distal end than those of their female counterparts. The radius and tibia of M. mulatta were relatively longer than those of M. fascicularis, and the sectional parameters of the tibia of M. mulatta were relatively larger than those of M. fascicularis. Standardization of the log-transformed bone length between the species revealed larger radial cortical bone areas in M. fascicularis. In contrast, there were minimal differences in the tibial cortical bone areas between the two species. This study suggests that the observed distinctions in bone geometry in female and male M. fascicularis may be due to gender-specific differences in the muscle weights of the forearm and calf, which may underlie the divergence in the leaping abilities of females and males of this species. Taken together, these results of interspecies comparisons may be related to the fact that arboreal primates such as M. fascicularis undergo compressive mechanical stress due to the forelimb lead that occurs as the animal descends a sloping trunk or bridges a tree gap downward, while terrestrial primates such as M. mulatta move on nearly flat substrates. Differences in fore- and hind-limb bone properties between the two species are discussed with regard to functional morphology and locomotor type.
    Primates 01/2009; 50(2):169-83. · 1.29 Impact Factor