This paper is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Harmon.
Prezygapophyseal articular facet shape in the catarrhine thoracolumbar vertebral column†
Article first published online: 22 MAR 2010
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume 142, Issue 4, pages 600–612, August 2010
How to Cite
Russo, G. A. (2010), Prezygapophyseal articular facet shape in the catarrhine thoracolumbar vertebral column. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 142: 600–612. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21283
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 22 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 JAN 2010
- Manuscript Received: 24 APR 2009
- functional morphology;
- thoracolumbar vertebral column;
- 3-D morphometrics
Two contrasting patterns of lumbar vertebral morphology generally characterize anthropoids. “Long-backed” monkeys are distinguished from “short-backed” apes [Benton: The baboon in medical research, Vol. 2 (1967:201)] with respect to several vertebral features thought to afford greater spinal flexibility in the former and spinal rigidity in the latter. Yet, discussions of spinal mobility are lacking important functional insight that can be gained by analysis of the zygapophyses, the spine's synovial joints responsible for allowing and resisting intervertebral movements. Here, prezygapophyseal articular facet (PAF) shape in the thoracolumbar spine of Papio, Hylobates, Pongo, Gorilla, and Pan is evaluated in the context of the “long-backed” versus “short-backed” model. A three-dimensional geometric morphometric approach is used to examine how PAF shape changes along the thoracolumbar vertebral column of each taxon and how PAF shape varies across taxa at corresponding vertebral levels. The thoracolumbar transition in PAF shape differs between Papio and the hominoids, between Hylobates and the great apes, and to a lesser extent, among great apes. At the level of the first lumbar vertebra, the PAF shape of Papio is distinguished from that of hominoids. At the level of the second lumbar vertebra, there is variation to some extent among all taxa. These findings suggest that morphological and functional distinctions in primate vertebral anatomy may be more complex than suggested by a “long-backed” versus “short-backed” dichotomy. Am J Phys Anthropol 142:600–612, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.