, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 293–319 | Cite as

The human extensor digitorum profundus muscle with comments on the evolution of the primate hand

  • M. Ashraf Aziz
  • Samuel Strong Dunlap


Forelimb dissections on 14 genera of anthropoids including humans and 17 cases of human aneuploids has revealed a high incidence of “atavistic” musculature (Barash et al., 1970;Aziz, 1981a) in the aneuploids. The phenotypic specificity of this aneuploid musculature clearly manifests developmental retardation and instability (Shapiro, 1983) revealing not only the likely course of embryonic myogenesis in chromosomally normal humans (Cihak, 1972, 1977) but also information relevant to ontogenetic and evolutionary changes. The extensor digitorum profundus proprius complex is particularly illustrative of these characteristics of aneuploid musculature. Our examination of the variation of this muscle complex in human aneuploids and between primate genera reveals how normal ontogeny may proceed, as well as the morphological basis for the evolutionary changes in hand structure and function amongst Primates. We also consider the phylogenetic and functional significance of changes in the extensor digitorum profundus proprius with reference to the divergent locomotory and manipulative capabilities and behavior of Primates.

Key Words

Forearm extensors Anthropoids Trisomy Ontogeny Evolution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andrle, M., W. Fiedler, A. Rett, P. Ambros, &D. Schweizer, 1979. A case of trisomy 22 inPongo pygmaeus.Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 24: 1–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Aziz, M. A., 1980. Anatomical defects in a case of trisomy 13 with a D/D translocation.Teratology, 20: 303–312.Google Scholar
  3. ————, 1981a. Possible “atavistic” structures in human aneuploids.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 54: 347–353.Google Scholar
  4. ————, 1981b. Muscular anomalies caused by delayed development in human aneuploidy.Clin. Genet., 19: 111–116.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Barash, B. A., L. Freedman, &J. M. Optiz, 1970. Anatomical studies in the 18-trisomy syndrome.Birth Defects, Orig. Art. Sr., 6: 3–15.Google Scholar
  6. Barclay-Smith, E., 1896–7. Some points in the anatomy of the dorsum of the hand, with special reference to the morphology of the extensor brevis digitorum manus.J. Anat., 31: 45–58.Google Scholar
  7. Beck, B., 1975. Primate tool behavior. In:Sociology and Psychology of Primates.R. Tuttle (ed.), Mouton Publ., The Hague, pp. 413–459.Google Scholar
  8. Benda, C. E., 1969.Down Syndrome. Grune & Stratton, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Bersu, E. T., 1984. Morphological development of the fetal trisomy in mouse.Teratology, 29: 117–130.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhadgamkar, A. R. &V. R. Mysorekar, 1960. Biolateral extensor digitorum brevis muscle in the hand.J. Anat. Soc. India, 9: 104–105.Google Scholar
  11. Bishop, A., 1962. Control of the hand in lower Primates.Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 102: 316–337.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. ————, 1964. Use of the hand in lower primates. In:Evolutionary and Genetic Biology of Primates II,J. Buettner-Janusch (ed.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 133–225.Google Scholar
  13. Blum, N., J. De Grouchy, &F. Alison, 1967. Deux cas de trisomie 13 avec persistance d'hemoglobine embryonaire Gower 2.Ann. Genet., 10: 138–140.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Bolwig, N., 1961. An intelligent tool-using baboon.S. Afr. J. Sci., 57: 147–152.Google Scholar
  15. Brooks, H. St. John, 1889. On the morphology of the muscles on the extensor aspect of the middle and distal segments of the limb: with an account of the various paths which are adopted by the nerve-trunks of these segments. Part I. On the extensor muscles in certain amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.Stud. Zool. Univ. College Dundee, 1: 1–17.Google Scholar
  16. Bunnell, S., 1944. Surgery of the intrinsic muscles of the hand other than those producing opposition of the thumb.J. Bone Jt. Surg., 24: 1–31.Google Scholar
  17. ————, 1956.Surgery of the Hand. J. B. Lippincott Co., Montreal.Google Scholar
  18. Cauldwell, E. W., B. J. Anson, &R. R. Wright, 1943. The extensor indicis proprius muscle. A study of 263 consecutive specimens.Quart. Bull. NW Univ. Med. Sch., 17: 267–279.Google Scholar
  19. Cihak, R., 1960. The origin of interosseous muscles of human hand.Cesk. Morphol., 8: 183–194.Google Scholar
  20. ————, 1967. The developmental significance of some intrinsic hand muscles.Anthropos., 19: 75–79.Google Scholar
  21. ————, 1972. Ontogenesis of the skeleton and intrinsic muscles of the human hand and foot.Adv. Anat. Embryol. Cell Biol., 46: 1–189.Google Scholar
  22. ————, 1973. Reduction of insertion of m. interosseous dorsalis accessorius in human ontogenesis.Folia Morphol., 21: 228–231.Google Scholar
  23. ————, 1977. Differentiation and rejoining of muscular layers in the embryonic human hand. In:Morphogenesis and Malformation of the Limb,D. Bergsma &W. Lorenz (eds.), A. R. Liss, Inc., New York, pp. 97–110.Google Scholar
  24. Colacino, S. C. &J. C. Pettersen, 1978. Analysis of the gross anatomical variations found in four cases of trisomy 13.Amer. J. Med. Genet., 2: 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Curnow, J., 1873. Notes of some irregularities in muscles and nerves.J. Anat. Physiol., 7: 304–310.Google Scholar
  26. Dixson, A. F., 1981.The Natural History of the Gorilla. Columbia Univ. Press, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Duckworth, W. L. H., 1915.Morphology and Anthropology I, (2nd ed.). Cambridge Univ. Press, London.Google Scholar
  28. Dylevski, I., 1967. Contribution to the ontogenesis of the flexor digitorum superficialis and the flexor digitorum profundus in man.Folia Morphol., 15: 330–335.Google Scholar
  29. Eisler, P., 1895. Die Homologie der Extremitaeten.Abhand Naturforsch. Gesselsch. Halle, 19: 87–346.Google Scholar
  30. Erikson, G. E., 1963. Brachiation in New World monkeys and in anthropoid apes.Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond., 10: 135–164.Google Scholar
  31. Fitzwilliams, D. C. L., 1909–10. The short muscles of the hand of the agile gibbon (Hylobatis agilis), with comments on the morphological position and function of the short muscles of the hand of man.Proc. Roy. Soc. Edinburgh, 30: 202–218.Google Scholar
  32. Fleagle, J. G. &R. A. Mittermeier, 1980. Locomotor behavior, body size, and comparative ecology of seven Surinam monkeys.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 52: 301–314.Google Scholar
  33. Gasser, R. F., 1967. The development of the facial muscles in man.Amer. J. Anat., 120: 357–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Glasgow, E. F., 1967. Bilateral extensor digitorum brevis manus.Med. J. Austr., 2: 24–25.Google Scholar
  35. Grand, T., 1968. Functional anatomy of the upper limb.Bibl. Primatol., 7: 104–125.Google Scholar
  36. Gray, D. J., 1945. Some variations appearing in the dissecting room.Stanford Med. Bull., 3: 120–127.Google Scholar
  37. Gropp, A., 1976. Morphological consequences of trisomy in mammals. In:Symposium on Embryogenesis in Mammals, London, Ciba Found. Symp. 40 (NS) Elsevier, Excerpta Medica North Holland, New York, pp. 155–171.Google Scholar
  38. Haines, R. W., 1939. A revision of the extensor muscles of the forearm tetrapods.J. Anat., 73: 211–233.Google Scholar
  39. ————, 1958. Arboreal or terrestrial ancestry of placental mammals.Quart. Rev. Biol., 33: 1–23.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Hall, B., 1964. Mongolism in newborns. A clinical and cytogenetic study.Acta Pediat. Suppl., 154.Google Scholar
  41. ————, 1965. Delayed ontogenesis in human trisomy syndromes.Hereditas, 52: 334–344.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. ————, 1966. Follow-up investigation of new-born mongoloids with respect to growth retardation.Hereditas, 56: 99–108.Google Scholar
  43. Hall, K. R. L., 1968. Tool-using performances as indicators of behavioral adaptability. In:Primates. Studies in Adaptation and Variability,P. C. Jay (ed.), Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, New York, pp. 131–171.Google Scholar
  44. Hartmann, R., 1885.Anthropoid Apes. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., London.Google Scholar
  45. Hayes, K. J. &C. Hayes, 1955. The cultural capacity of chimpanzee. In:The Non-human Primates and Human Evolution,J. A. Gavan (ed.), Wayne Univ. Press, Detroit, pp. 110–125.Google Scholar
  46. Howell, A. B., 1936. Phylogeny of the distal musculature of the pectoral appendage.J. Morphol., 60: 287–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. ---- &W. L. Straus, Jr., 1933. The muscular system. In:The Anatomy of the Rhesus Monkey (Macaca mulatta),C. G. Hartman & W. L. Straus, Jr. (eds.), Hafner Publ. Co., pp. 307–327.Google Scholar
  48. Huehns, E. R., F. Hecht, J. V. Keil, &A. G. Motulsky, 1964. Developmental hemoglobin anomalies in a chromosomal triplication: D1 trisomy syndrome.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., Wash., 51: 89–97.Google Scholar
  49. Humphry, G. M., 1873. Lectures on the varieties in the muscles of man II.Brit. Med. J., 1873: 51–54.Google Scholar
  50. Jones, B. V., 1959. An anomalous extensor indicis muscle.J. Bone Jt. Surg., 41B: 763–765.Google Scholar
  51. Jouffroy, F. K. &R. Lessertisseur, 1959. Reflexions sur les muscles contracteurs des doigts et des orteils (contrahentes digitorum) chez les primates.Ann. Sci. Nat. Zool. Sr., 12(1): 211–235.Google Scholar
  52. Kaplan, E. B., 1965.Functional and Surgical Anatomy of the Hand. (2nd ed). J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  53. Kawai, M., 1965. Newly acquired pre-cultural behavior of the natural troop of Japanese macaques on Koshima Isles.Primates, 6: 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Keith, A., 1899. On the chimpanzee and their relationship to the gorilla.Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1899: 296–312.Google Scholar
  55. Kortland, A., 1972.New Perspectives on Ape and Human Evolution. Stricting voor Psychobiologie. Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  56. Le Double, A. F., 1897.Traite des Vadu Systeme Musculaire de l'Homme et de leur Signification au Point de Vue de l'Anthropologie Zoologique I et II. Librairie C. Reinwald, Paris.Google Scholar
  57. Lee, C. S. N., S. H. Boyer, P. Bowen, D. J. Weatherall, H. Rosenbaum, D. B. Clark, J. R. Duke, C. Liboro, W. Bias, &D. S. Borgaonkar, 1966. The D1 trisomy syndrome: Three subjects with unequally advancing development.Bull. Johns Hopk. Hosp., 118: 374–394.Google Scholar
  58. Lewis, O. J., 1965. The evolution of the mm. interossei in the primate hand.Anat. Rec., 153: 275–288.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Lewis, W. H., 1910. The development of the muscular system. In:Manual of Human Embryology I.F. Keibel &F. P. Mall (eds.), J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, pp. 454–522.Google Scholar
  60. Le Gros Clark, W. E., 1971.The Antecedents of Man (3rd ed.) Quadrangle Books, Chicago.Google Scholar
  61. Loth, E., 1931.Anthropologie des parties molles (muscles, intestins, vaisseaux, nerfs peripheriques). Masson, Paris.Google Scholar
  62. ————, 1950. Anthropological studies of muscles of living Uganda Negroes.Yb. Phys. Anthropol., 5: 220–236.Google Scholar
  63. Macalister, A., 1866. Notes on muscular anomalies in human anatomy.Proc. Roy Irish Acad., 9: 444–467.Google Scholar
  64. ————, 1867. Further notes on muscular anomalies in human anatomy and their bearing upon homotypic myology.Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 2: 121–164.Google Scholar
  65. ————, 1871. On some points in the myology of the chimpanzee and of the primates.Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., 7(2): 341–351.Google Scholar
  66. ————, 1873–4. The muscular anatomy of the gorilla.Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 1: 501–506.Google Scholar
  67. ————, 1875. Additional observations on muscular anomalies in human anatomy (Third series), with a catalogue of the principle muscular variations hitherto published.Trans. Roy. Irish Acad., 25: 1–134.Google Scholar
  68. Marzke, M. W., 1971. Origin of the human hand.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 34: 61–84.Google Scholar
  69. McClure, H. M., W. A. Pieper, M. E. Keeling, C. B. Jacobson, &R. C. Schlant, 1973. Down's-like syndrome in chimpanzee. Clinical, behavioral, cytogenetic, andpost mortem observations. In:The Chimpanzee, 6,G. Bourne (ed.), S. Karger, Basel, pp. 184–214.Google Scholar
  70. McGregor, A. L., 1925. A contribution to the morphology of the thumb.J. Anat., 60: 259–273.Google Scholar
  71. McMurrich, J. P., 1903. The phylogeny of the palmar musculature.Amer. J. Anat. II., 2: 463–500.Google Scholar
  72. Midlo, C., 1934. Form of hand and foot in primates.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 19: 337–389.Google Scholar
  73. Mittermeier, R. A. &J. G. Fleagle, 1976. The locomotor and postural repertoires ofAteles geoffroyi andColobus guereza, and a reevaluation of the locomotor category semibrachiation.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 45: 235–256.Google Scholar
  74. Mortensen, O. A. &J. C. Pettersen, 1966. The musculature. In:Morris' Human Anatomy (12th ed.),B. J. Anson (ed.), McGraw-Hill Co., New York, pp. 421–611.Google Scholar
  75. Napier, J. R., 1956. The prehensile movements of the human hand.J. Bone Jt. Surg., 38B: 902–913.Google Scholar
  76. ————, 1960. Hands of living primates.Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 134: 647–665.Google Scholar
  77. ————, 1962. The evolution of the hand.Sci. Amer., 207: 43–49.Google Scholar
  78. ————, 1963. Brachiation and brachiators. In:The Primates,J. R. Napier & N. A. Barnicot (eds.),Symp. Zool. Soc. Lond., 10: 183–195.Google Scholar
  79. ————, 1964. The evolution of bipedal walking in the hominids.Arch. Biol. (Liege), 75 (Suppl.): 673–708.Google Scholar
  80. ————, 1976. The human hand. In:Carolina Biology Readers,J. J. Head (ed.), Carolina Biol. Supply Co., Burlington (NC), pp. 1–16.Google Scholar
  81. Opitz, J. M., J. Herrman, J. C. Pettersen, E. T. Bersu, &S. C. Colacino, 1979. Terminological, diagnostic, nosological, and anatomical aspects of developmental defects in man. In:Advances in Human Genetics,I. H. Harris &D. Hirschhorn (eds.), Plenum Press, New York, pp. 71–164.Google Scholar
  82. Parker, S. T. &K. R. Gibson, 1977. Object manipulation, tool use, and sensorimotor intelligence as feeding adaptations inCebus monkeys and great apes.J. Human Evol., 6: 623–641.Google Scholar
  83. Pettersen, J. C. &E. T. Bersu, 1982. A comparison of the anatomical variations found in trisomies 13, 18, and 21. In:Advances in the Study of Birth Defects 15,T. V. N. Persaud (ed.), A. R. Liss, New York, pp. 161–179.Google Scholar
  84. ————,G. G. Koltis, &M. J. White, 1979. An examination of the spectrum of anatomic defects and variations found in eight cases of trisomy 13.Amer. J. Med. Genet., 3. 183–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Polani, P. E. &M. Adinolfi, 1980. Chromosome 21 of man, 22 of the great apes, and 16 of the mouse.Develop. Med. Child. Neurol., 22: 223–233.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Ramirez-Castro, J. L. &E. T. Bersu, 1979. Anatomical analysis of the developmental effects of aneuploidy in man—the trisomy 18 syndrome. II. Anomalies of the upper and lower limbs.Amer. J. Med. Genet., 2: 285–306.Google Scholar
  87. Raven, H. C., 1950. Regional anatomy of the gorilla. In:The Anatomy of the Gorilla,W. K. Gregory (ed.), Columbia Univ. Press, New York, pp. 15–188.Google Scholar
  88. Ribbing, L., 1938. Die Muskeln und Nerven der Extremitaten. Handb. d. vergleich. Anat. de. Wirbeltiere V. Urban und Schwarzenberg, Berlin, 543–656.Google Scholar
  89. Robertson, D. F., 1944. Anatomy of the South American woolly monkey (Lagothrix), Part I: the forelimb.Zoologica (N.Y.), 29: 169–192.Google Scholar
  90. Romanes, G. J., 1966.Cunningham's Manual of Practical Anatomy (13th ed.)I. Upper and Lower Limbs. Oxford Univ. Press, London.Google Scholar
  91. Ruge, G., 1878a. Entwicklungsvorgange an der Muskulatur des menschlichen Fußes.Morphl. Jb., 4 (Suppl.): 117–152.Google Scholar
  92. ————, 1878b. Zur veigleichenden Anatomie der tiefen Muskeln in der Fußsohle.Morphl. Jb., 4: 644–659.Google Scholar
  93. Schafer, E. S., J. Symington, &T. H. Bryce, 1923.Quain's Elements of Anatomy, (11th ed.),4(2)Myology. Longmann's, Green & Co., London.Google Scholar
  94. Schön, M. A., 1968. The muscular system of the red howling monkey.Smithson. Inst. Bull., 273.Google Scholar
  95. Schultz, A., 1926. Fetal growth of man and other primates.Quart. Rev. Biol., 1: 465–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Shapiro, B. L., 1983. Down syndrome—A disruption of homeostasis.Amer. J. Med. Genet., 14: 241–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Sonntag, C. F., 1924.The Morphology and Evolution of the Apes and Man. John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, Ltd., London.Google Scholar
  98. Straus, Jr., W. L., 1941a. The phylogeny of the human forearm extensors.Human Biol., 13: 23–50.Google Scholar
  99. ————, 1941b. The phylogeny of the human forearm extensors (concluded).Human Biol., 13: 203–238.Google Scholar
  100. ————, 1942. The homologies of the forearm flexors: Urodeles, Lizards, Mammals.Amer. J. Anat., 70: 281–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Sullivan, W. E. &C. W. Osgood, 1927. The musculature of the superior extremity of the orangutan,Simia satyrus.Anat. Rec., 135: 193–239.Google Scholar
  102. Susman, R. L. &R. H. Tuttle, 1976. Knuckling behavior in captive orangutans and a wounded baboon.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 45: 123–124.Google Scholar
  103. Testut, L., 1888.Les Anomalies Musculaires chez l'Homme expliquées par l'Anatomie Comparée. Leur Importance en Anthropologie. Masson, Paris.Google Scholar
  104. Tuttle, R. H., 1967. Knuckle-walking and the evolution of the hominoid hands.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 26: 171–206.Google Scholar
  105. ————, 1969a. Terrestrial trends in the hands of the Anthropoidea. A preliminary report.Proc. II Int. Congr. Primat. (Atlanta, GA), 2: 192–200.Google Scholar
  106. ————, 1969b. Quantitative and functional studies on the hands of the Anthropoidea. I. The Hominoidea.J. Morphol., 128: 309–364.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  107. ————, 1969c. Knuckle-walking and the problem of human origins.Science, 166: 953–961.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  108. ————, 1970. Postural, propulsive, and prehensile capabilities in the cheiridia of chimpanzees and other great apes. In:The Chimpanzee, Vol. 2,G. Bourne (ed.), S. Karger, New York, pp. 167–253.Google Scholar
  109. ————, 1972. Relative mass of cheiridial muscles in catarrhine primates. In:The Functional and Evolutionary Biology of Primates,R. Tuttle (ed.), Aldine-Atherton, Chicago, pp. 262–291.Google Scholar
  110. ————, 1981. Evolution of hominid bipedalism and prehensile capabilities.Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., B292: 89–94.Google Scholar
  111. ———— &B. B. Beck, 1972. Knuckle-walking hand postures in an orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).Nature (London), 236: 33–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. ———— &C. M. Rogers, 1966. Genetic and selective factors in reduction of the hallux inPongo pygmaeus.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 24: 191–198.Google Scholar
  113. van Lawick-Goodall, J., 1970. Tool-using in primates and other vertebrates. In:Advances in the Study of Behavior, Vol. 3,D. S. Lehrman, R. A. Hinde, &E. Shaw (eds.), Academic Press, London, pp. 195–249.Google Scholar
  114. Washburn, S. L., 1968.The Study of Human Evolution. London Lectures. Oregon State System of Higher Education, Eugene (Oregon).Google Scholar
  115. Wood, J., 1864. On some varieties in human myology.Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), 13: 299–303.Google Scholar
  116. ————, 1865. Additional varieties in human myology.Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), 14: 379–393.Google Scholar
  117. ————, 1866. Variations in human myology observed during the Winter Session of 1865–66 at King's College, London.Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), 15: 229–244.Google Scholar
  118. ————, 1867a. Variations in human myology observed during the Winter Session of 1866–67 at King's College, London.Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), 15: 518–545.Google Scholar
  119. ————, 1867b. On human muscular variations and their relation to comparative anatomy.J. Anat. Physiol., 1: 44–59.Google Scholar
  120. ————, 1868. Variations in human myology observed during the Winter Session of 1867–68 at King's College, London.Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), 16: 483–525.Google Scholar
  121. Wood-Jones, F., 1941.The Principles of Anatomy, as Seen in the Hand. Bailliere, Tindall & Cox, London.Google Scholar
  122. Ziegler, A. C., 1964. Brachiating adaptations of chimpanzee upper limb musculature.Amer. J. Phys. Anthropol., 22: 15–32.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Ashraf Aziz
    • 1
  • Samuel Strong Dunlap
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyHoward University College of MedicineWashington, D.C.U.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Reproductive BiologyUniversity of Hawaii School of MedicineHonoluluU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations