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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1996 Mar;99(3):429-47.

Fiber architecture of the extensors of the hindlimb in semiterrestrial and arboreal guenons.

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1
Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 53201, USA.

Abstract

Fiber architecture of the extensor musculature of the knee and ankle is examined in two African gueon species--the semiterrestrial Cercopithecus aethiops, and the arboreal C. ascanius. Using histologic and microscopic techniques to measure lengths of sarcomeres, the original lengths of muscle fasciculi and angles of pinnation in quadriceps femoris and triceps surae are reconstructed from direct measurements on cadavers. Calculations of reduced physiological cross-sectional area, mass/predicted effective tetanic tension, maximum excursion, and tendon length/fasciculus+tendon lengths are correlated to preferred locomotor modalities in the wild. For both species, greater morphological differences occur among the bellies of quadriceps femoris--rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, v. lateralis, and v. medialis--than among the bellies of triceps surae--gastrocnemius lateralis, g. medialis, plantaris, and soleus. With regard to quadriceps femoris, few differences occur between species. Interspecific differences in the triceps surae indicate (1) redirection of muscle force to accommodate arboreality in which the substrate is less than body width; (2) muscles more suited for velocity in the semiterrestrial vervets; and (3) muscles used more isotonically in vervets and more isometrically in red-tailed monkeys. The inherent flexibility of muscles may be preadaptive to a primary species shift in locomotor modality until the bony morphology is able to adapt through natural selection.

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