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Keywords:

  • Primates;
  • Bipedalism;
  • Quadrupedalism;
  • Locomotion

Abstract

Data is presented from eight primates on the ground reaction forces on the limbs during locomotion. These subjects supported from 30 to 45% of their body weight on their forelimbs. Other quadrupedal mammals support 55–60% of their body weight on their forelimbs. The increase of peak vertical force with speed varies greatly between the subjects. The variation in weight supported by the forelimbs and the peak forces on the forelimbs is proposed to correlate with variation in locomotor adaptations. It is suggested that the occurrence of bipedalism in primates represents the extreme expression of the tendency in primates to reduce the compressive forces on their forelimbs.