Quantifying phalangeal curvature: An empirical comparison of alternative methods

Authors

  • Jack T. Stern Jr.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8081
    • Department of Anatomical Sciences, Health Sciences Center, University at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8081
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  • William L. Jungers,

    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8081
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  • Randall L. Susman

    1. Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8081
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Abstract

It has been generally assumed and theoretically argued that the curvature of finger and toe bones seen in some nonhuman primates is associated with cheiridial use in an arboreal setting. Assessment of such curvature in fossil primates has been used to infer the positional behavior of these animals. Several methods of quantifying curvature of bones have been proposed. The measure most commonly applied to phalanges is that of in cluded angle, but this has come under some criticism. We consider various other approaches for quantifying phalangeal curvature, demonstrating that some are equivalent to use of included angle, but that one—normalized curva ture moment arm (NCMA)—represents a true alternative. A comparison of NCMA to included angle, both calculated on manual and pedal proximal phalanges of humans, apes, some monkeys, and the Hadar fossils, revealed that these two different measures of curvature are highly correlated and result in very similar distributional patterns. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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