The Wrist of Proconsul africanus and the Origin of Hominoid Postcranial Adaptations

  • H. M. McHenry
  • R. S. Corruccini
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


One of the most important discoveries in hominoid evolutionary studies is the fossil forelimb of Proconsul africanus (KNM-RU 2036), discovered in 1951 from the early Miocene deposits of Rusinga Island, Kenya. Napier and Davis (1959, p. 1) describe the importance of the fossil:

The discovery of the fore-limb bones of P. africanus is therefore an event of considerable moment, for they constitute the oldest and most complete skeleton of the hominoid fore-limb so far known. It is clear that these bones belong to one of the most significant periods of primate evolution; a period when the generalized catarrhine stock was emerging from a prolonged phase of arboreal quadrupedalism with its limited opportunities for adaptive radiation and was entering upon a phase that would provide a diversity of environmental opportunity leading ultimately to the emergence of four distinct patterns of locomotion among the Anthropoidea: (1) arboreal quadrupedalism, (2) terrestrial quadrupedalism, (3) brachiation, (4) terrestrial bipedalism.


Articular Surface Middle Miocene Canonical Variate Standard Deviation Unit Distal Articular Surface 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. M. McHenry
    • 1
  • R. S. Corruccini
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologySouthern Illinois University, CarbondaleUSA

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