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Anat Res Int. 2013;2013:409534. doi: 10.1155/2013/409534. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Locomotor Anatomy and Behavior of Patas Monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) with Comparison to Vervet Monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops).

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1
University of California, Santa Cruz, Social Sciences 1, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.

Abstract

Patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) living in African savanna woodlands and grassland habitats have a locomotor system that allows them to run fast, presumably to avoid predators. Long fore- and hindlimbs, long foot bones, short toes, and a digitigrade foot posture were proposed as anatomical correlates with speed. In addition to skeletal proportions, soft tissue and whole body proportions are important components of the locomotor system. To further distinguish patas anatomy from other Old World monkeys, a comparative study based on dissection of skin, muscle, and bone from complete individuals of patas and vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops) was undertaken. Analysis reveals that small adjustments in patas skeletal proportions, relative mass of limbs and tail, and specific muscle groups promote efficient sagittal limb motion. The ability to run fast is based on a locomotor system adapted for long distance walking. The patas' larger home range and longer daily range than those of vervets give them access to highly dispersed, nutritious foods, water, and sleeping trees. Furthermore, patas monkeys have physiological adaptations that enable them to tolerate and dissipate heat. These features all contribute to the distinct adaptation that is the patas monkeys' basis for survival in grassland and savanna woodland areas.

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