Afropithecus, Proconsul, and the Primitive Hominoid Skeleton

  • Carol V. Ward

Abstract

Many distinctive synapomorphies of modern apes (and humans) are found in the postcranial skeleton. These characters reflect a basic adaptation, variably developed and practiced among modern species, to forelimb-dominated arboreal locomotion, including climbing, brachiation, and/or forelimb suspension (e.g., Cartmill and Milton, 1977; Fleagle et al., 1981; Hunt, 1992; Keith, 1923; Stern, 1971; Stern et al., 1977). The morphological pattern shared by modern hominoids has led to the general assumption that locomotor divergence was an initial hallmark of the hominoid lineage, setting them apart from their monkey-like forbears. As more is learned about the earliest hominoids, however, paleontologists realize that not all apes share a similar pattern of postcranial anatomy and locomotor behavior, and that the suite of features seen in extant apes evolved in a mosaic fashion over the course of hominoid evolutionary history (reviews and references in Begun et al., 1997a).

Keywords

Europe Cage Adduct Expense Miocene 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol V. Ward
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Anthropology and Pathology and Anatomical SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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