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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Oct 27;365(1556):3301-14. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0035.

Arboreality, terrestriality and bipedalism.

Author information

  • 1Primate Evolution and Morphology Research Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Liverpool, Sherrington Buildings, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3GE, UK. rhcromp@liv.ac.uk

Abstract

The full publication of Ardipithecus ramidus has particular importance for the origins of hominin bipedality, and strengthens the growing case for an arboreal origin. Palaeontological techniques however inevitably concentrate on details of fragmentary postcranial bones and can benefit from a whole-animal perspective. This can be provided by field studies of locomotor behaviour, which provide a real-world perspective of adaptive context, against which conclusions drawn from palaeontology and comparative osteology may be assessed and honed. Increasingly sophisticated dynamic modelling techniques, validated against experimental data for living animals, offer a different perspective where evolutionary and virtual ablation experiments, impossible for living mammals, may be run in silico, and these can analyse not only the interactions and behaviour of rigid segments but increasingly the effects of compliance, which are of crucial importance in guiding the evolution of an arboreally derived lineage.

PMID:
20855304
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2981953
Free PMC Article

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