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Phylogenetic and environmental effects on limb bone structure in gorillas


Ruff, Christopher B; Burgess, M. Loring; Junno, Juho-Antti; Mudakikwa, Antoine; Zollikofer, Christoph P E; Ponce de León, Marcia S; McFarlin, Shannon C (2018). Phylogenetic and environmental effects on limb bone structure in gorillas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166(2):353-372.

Abstract

Objectives
The effects of phylogeny and locomotor behavior on long bone structural proportions are assessed through comparisons between adult and ontogenetic samples of extant gorillas.
Materials and Methods
A total of 281 wild-collected individuals were included in the study, divided into four groups that vary taxonomically and ecologically: western lowland gorillas (G. g. gorilla), lowland and highland grauer gorillas (G. b. graueri), and Virunga mountain gorillas (G. b. beringei). Lengths and articular breadths of the major long bones (except the fibula) were measured, and diaphyseal cross-sectional geometric properties determined using computed tomography. Ages of immature specimens (n = 145) were known or estimated from dental development. Differences between groups in hind limb to forelimb proportions were assessed in both adults and during development.
Results
Diaphyseal strength proportions among adults vary in parallel with behavioral/ecological differences, and not phylogeny. The more arboreal western lowland and lowland grauer gorillas have relatively stronger forelimbs than the more terrestrial Virunga mountain gorillas, while the behaviorally intermediate highland grauer gorillas have intermediate proportions. Diaphyseal strength proportions are similar in young infants but diverge after 2 years of age in western lowland and mountain gorillas, at the same time that changes in locomotor behavior occur. There are no differences between groups in length or articular proportions among either adults or immature individuals.
Conclusion
Long bone diaphyseal strength proportions in gorillas are developmentally plastic, reflecting behavior, while length and articular proportions are much more genetically canalized. These findings have implications for interpreting morphological variation among fossil taxa.

Abstract

Objectives
The effects of phylogeny and locomotor behavior on long bone structural proportions are assessed through comparisons between adult and ontogenetic samples of extant gorillas.
Materials and Methods
A total of 281 wild-collected individuals were included in the study, divided into four groups that vary taxonomically and ecologically: western lowland gorillas (G. g. gorilla), lowland and highland grauer gorillas (G. b. graueri), and Virunga mountain gorillas (G. b. beringei). Lengths and articular breadths of the major long bones (except the fibula) were measured, and diaphyseal cross-sectional geometric properties determined using computed tomography. Ages of immature specimens (n = 145) were known or estimated from dental development. Differences between groups in hind limb to forelimb proportions were assessed in both adults and during development.
Results
Diaphyseal strength proportions among adults vary in parallel with behavioral/ecological differences, and not phylogeny. The more arboreal western lowland and lowland grauer gorillas have relatively stronger forelimbs than the more terrestrial Virunga mountain gorillas, while the behaviorally intermediate highland grauer gorillas have intermediate proportions. Diaphyseal strength proportions are similar in young infants but diverge after 2 years of age in western lowland and mountain gorillas, at the same time that changes in locomotor behavior occur. There are no differences between groups in length or articular proportions among either adults or immature individuals.
Conclusion
Long bone diaphyseal strength proportions in gorillas are developmentally plastic, reflecting behavior, while length and articular proportions are much more genetically canalized. These findings have implications for interpreting morphological variation among fossil taxa.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anatomy, Anthropology
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:01 Mar 2018 16:04
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 14:37
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0002-9483
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23437
Project Information:
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID248657
  • : Project TitleGEYSERS - Generalised architEcture for dYnamic infraStructure sERvices

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