The Locomotor Behavior of Pan paniscus in the Lomako Forest

  • Randall L. Susman
Part of the The Pygmy Chimpanzee book series (EBIO)


Studies of free-ranging apes date to the 1930s and 1940s [Nissen (1931) on the common chimpanzee; Bingham (1932) on the gorilla; Carpenter (1940) on the white handed gibbon], and long-term field studies on great apes have been in progress since the 1960s (Fossey, 1972; Nishida, 1968; Rodman, 1973; Goodall, 1968). We have come to understand much about the ecology, social behavior, diet, and life histories of our closest living relatives, the Pongidae. As we have learned more about the great apes, our definition of both ape and human has changed. Whereas it was once thought that among primates only humans (and our fossil forebears) made and used tools, hunted and ate meat, and possessed the capacity for symbolic communication, studies of the great apes have revealed the subtlety of these definitions of humankind. With the advance in our understanding of the fossil record, the subtle transition in brain size and dental reduction from ape to human has been revealed. It is now widely agreed that the initial morphological and behavioral change from ape to human came in the locomotor apparatus and bipedalism. The shift from four- to two-legged progression may well have been the one that initiated the hominid trajectory. In spite of the importance of locomotion in the homidid career, relatively little is known of the locomotion of free-ranging primates, particelarly the great apes.


Locomotor Behavior Mountain Gorilla Early Hominid Bipedal Locomotion Locomotor Mode 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randall L. Susman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of MedicineState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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