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Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jul 7;279(1738):2561-70. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0190. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Elbow joint adductor moment arm as an indicator of forelimb posture in extinct quadrupedal tetrapods.

Author information

1
The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. sinitchy@um.u-tokyo.ac.jp

Abstract

Forelimb posture has been a controversial aspect of reconstructing locomotor behaviour in extinct quadrupedal tetrapods. This is partly owing to the qualitative and subjective nature of typical methods, which focus on bony articulations that are often ambiguous and unvalidated postural indicators. Here we outline a new, quantitatively based forelimb posture index that is applicable to a majority of extant tetrapods. By determining the degree of elbow joint adduction/abduction mobility in several tetrapods, the carpal flexor muscles were determined to also play a role as elbow adductors. Such adduction may play a major role during the stance phase in sprawling postures. This role is different from those of upright/sagittal and sloth-like creeping postures, which, respectively, depend more on elbow extensors and flexors. Our measurements of elbow muscle moment arms in 318 extant tetrapod skeletons (Lissamphibia, Synapsida and Reptilia: 33 major clades and 263 genera) revealed that sprawling, sagittal and creeping tetrapods, respectively, emphasize elbow adductor, extensor and flexor muscles. Furthermore, scansorial and non-scansorial taxa, respectively, emphasize flexors and extensors. Thus, forelimb postures of extinct tetrapods can be qualitatively classified based on our quantitative index. Using this method, we find that Triceratops (Ceratopsidae), Anhanguera (Pterosauria) and desmostylian mammals are categorized as upright/sagittally locomoting taxa.

PMID:
22357261
PMCID:
PMC3350707
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2012.0190
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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