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Z Morphol Anthropol. 2002 Mar;83(2-3):243-63.

Arboreal locomotion in small new-world monkeys.

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Abteilung Funktionelle Morphologie, Anatomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Bochum.


The postural and locomotor activity and its relation to substrates was observed in 3 Saguinus oedipus, and 3 Saimiri sciureus for comparison, during a period of 10 h for each individual. The animals moved freely in cages of 3.40 m x 3.40 m x 2.40 m (height) on rather diverse substrates. Observations were made according to the focal-animal-method, with combined instantaneous and continuous sampling. They were protocoled in schematic form and video-recorded. In addition, 3 further Saguinus oedipus were subjected to an X-ray cinematographic study on a modified treadmill to unveil metric parameters of the locomotor pattern preferred on slender and compliant ("arboreal") substrates, the walk. Independent from the substrates, the postures of the two species differed in details, as do the preferred substrates. Horizontal, comfortable substrates are favored most. Walking ranked top in frequency, followed by jumping and galloping (in a strict sense). All other locomotor modes described for primates played a minor role or lacked entirely, like the trot. Average distance of leaps was only 0.60 m, landings were mainly on the same level as take-offs. In Saguinus, the movements of both limbs, including the shoulder blade, followed the pattern common to small mammals in general: At the end of the stance phase, humerus and tibia are nearly parallel to the substrate, while just before touchdown ulna and femur are in this position. The walk in both species was surprisingly fast (1 m/s), reaching the speed of much larger cursorial animals, like humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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