Locomotor Adaptations of Oligocene and Miocene Hominoids and Their Phyletic Implications

  • J. G. Fleagle
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


For most of this century, discussions of ape and human ancestry have frequently centered on questions of skeletal morphology and locomotor adaptations. The proponents of a close evolutionary relationship between humans and living apes have always based much of their argument on the many “brachiating” adaptations found in the musculoskeletal systems of all living hominoids (e.g., Keith, 1923; Gregory, 1934; Washburn, 1968). At the same time, their opponents emphasized the many ways in which apes showed specialized adaptations for brachiation which were not found in humans (e.g., Wood Jones, 1929, 1948; Straus, 1949). The discovery of skeletal remains for many fossil apes from the Miocene provided what Le Gros Clark (1950) and many others initially perceived as a broadly synthetic solution to the issue of ape—human relationships, but in the long run only complicated the arguments and recalibrated the debate (Fleagle and Jungers, 1982). Thus, for the past three decades, the debate has shifted from mainly neontological comparisons of living apes and humans to true evolutionary investigation of the morphological and temporal relationships among the fossil apes, living apes, and humans.


Medial Epicondyle Olecranon Process Olecranon Fossa Locomotor Adaptation Miocene Hominoid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. G. Fleagle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical Sciences, Health Sciences CenterState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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