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Diversity of grip in Macaca mulatta

Abstract

Much of the research on the neuronal basis of prehension focuses on macaque monkeys. Yet most of the behavioral description of grip types pertains to humans and apes. The purpose of the present study was to provide a catalogue and description of basic grip behavior in macaque monkeys. The observational study explored the diversity of grasping behavior in 157 semi-free ranging rhesus macaques. Video footage of monkeys grasping objects ad libitum was analyzed frame-by-frame, and grips were classified based on the skin surface areas that contacted the object. When monkeys held objects for manipulation, 15 distinct grip categories were observed. When monkeys held support points during climbing, two grip categories were observed. Not all grips were performed with the hand. Some involved the mouth, the foot, or an opposition between the forearm and chest. Grip in macaque monkeys is more diverse than the narrow range of grip that is typically studied.

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Acknowledgments

We thank M. Gerald for access to Cayo Santiago and T. Mole for encouragement. Supported by NIH grants CM-5 P40 RR003640-20 and NS-046407, Princeton University Dean of the College Fund, Princeton Class of 1991 Foundation, Princeton Class of 1984 Memorial Fund, and Fred Fox Class of 1939 Fund.

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Correspondence to Michael S. A. Graziano.

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Macfarlane, N.B.W., Graziano, M.S.A. Diversity of grip in Macaca mulatta . Exp Brain Res 197, 255–268 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-009-1909-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-009-1909-z

Keywords

  • Prehension
  • Grasp
  • Primatology
  • Rhesus
  • Ethology