Muscle architecture of the upper limb in the orangutan
ABSTRACT We dissected the left upper limb of a female orangutan and systematically recorded muscle mass, fascicle length, and physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), in order to quantitatively clarify the unique muscle architecture of the upper limb of the orangutan. Comparisons of the musculature of the dissected orangutan with corresponding published chimpanzee data demonstrated that in the orangutan, the elbow flexors, notably M. brachioradialis, tend to exhibit greater PCSAs. Moreover, the digital II-V flexors in the forearm, such as M. flexor digitorum superficialis and M. flexor digitorum profundus, tend to have smaller PCSA as a result of their relatively longer fascicles. Thus, in the orangutan, the elbow flexors demonstrate a higher potential for force production, whereas the forearm muscles allow a greater range of wrist joint mobility. The differences in the force-generating capacity in the upper limb muscles of the two species might reflect functional specialization of muscle architecture in the upper limb of the orangutan for living in arboreal environments.
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ABSTRACT: It is widely held that many differences among primate species in scapular morphology can be functionally related to differing demands on the shoulder associated with particular locomotor habits. This perspective is largely based on broad scale studies, while more narrow comparisons of scapular form often fail to follow predictions based on inferred differences in shoulder function. For example, the ratio of supraspinous fossa/infraspinous fossa size in apes is commonly viewed as an indicator of the importance of overhead use of the forelimb, yet paradoxically, the African apes, the most terrestrial of the great apes, have higher scapular fossa ratios than the more suspensory orangutan. The recent discovery of several nearly complete early hominin scapular specimens, and their apparent morphological affinities to scapulae of orangutans and gorillas rather than chimpanzees, has led to renewed interest in the comparative analysis of human and extant ape scapular form. To facilitate the functional interpretation of differences in ape scapulae, particularly in regard to relative scapular fossa size, we used electromyography (EMG) to document the activity patterns in all four rotator cuff muscles in orangutans and gibbons, comparing the results with previously published data for chimpanzees. The EMG results indicate that the distinctive contributions of each cuff muscle to locomotion are the same in the three ape species, failing to support inferences of differences in rotator cuff function based on relative scapular fossa size comparisons. It is also shown that relative scapular fossa size is not in fact a good predictor of either the relative masses or cross-sectional areas of the rotator cuff muscles in apes, and relative fossa size gives a false impression of the importance of individual cuff muscles to locomotor differences among apes. A possible explanation for the disparity between fossa and muscle size relates to the underappreciated role of the scapular spine in structural reinforcement of the blade.Journal of Human Evolution 08/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.07.010 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The maximum capability of a muscle can be estimated from simple measurements of muscle architecture such as muscle belly mass, fascicle length and physiological cross-sectional area. While the hindlimb anatomy of the non-human apes has been studied in some detail, a comparative study of the forelimb architecture across a number of species has never been undertaken. Here we present data from chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and an orangutan to ascertain if, and where, there are functional differences relating to their different locomotor repertoires and habitat usage. We employed a combination of analyses including allometric scaling and ancovas to explore the data, as the sample size was relatively small and heterogeneous (specimens of different sizes, ages and sex). Overall, subject to possible unidentified, confounding factors such as age effects, it appears that the non-human great apes in this sample (the largest assembled to date) do not vary greatly across different muscle architecture parameters, even though they perform different locomotor behaviours at different frequencies. Therefore, it currently appears that the time spent performing a particular behaviour does not necessarily impose a dominating selective influence on the soft-tissue portion of the musculoskeletal system; rather, the overall consistency of muscle architectural properties both between and within the Asian and African apes strengthens the case for the hypothesis of a possible ancient shared evolutionary origin for orthogrady under compressive and/or suspensory loading in the great apes.Journal of Anatomy 01/2012; 220(1):13-28. DOI:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2011.01443.x · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Great apes diversified during the Miocene in Old World forests. Two lineages, gorillas in Africa and orangutans in Asia, have sexual dimorphisms of super-sized males, though they presumably diverged from a smaller common ancestor. We test the hypothesis that they increased in body mass independently and convergently, and that their many postcranial differences reflect locomotor differences. Whole body dissections of five adult male gorillas and four adult male orangutans allowed quantification of body mass distribution to limb segments, of body composition (muscle, bone, skin, and fat relative to total body mass), and of muscle distribution and proportions. Results demonstrate that gorilla forelimb anatomy accommodates shoulder joint mobility for vertical climbing and reaching while maintaining joint stability during quadrupedal locomotion. The heavily muscled hind limbs are equipped for propulsion and weight-bearing over relatively stable substrates on the forest floor. In contrast, orangutan forelimb length, muscle mass, and joint construction are modified for strength and mobility in climbing, bridging, and traveling over flexible supports through the forest canopy. Muscles of hip, knee, and ankle joints provide rotational and prehensile strength essential for moving on unstable and discontinuous branches. We conclude that anatomical similarities are due to common ancestry and that differences in postcranial anatomy reflect powerful selection for divergent locomotor adaptations. These data further support the evolutionary conclusion that gorillas fall with chimpanzees and humans as part of the African hominoid radiation; orangutans are a specialized outlier.The Anatomical Record Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 11/2011; 294(11):1842-55. DOI:10.1002/ar.21449 · 1.53 Impact Factor