Hominoid humeral morphology: 3D morphometric analysis

Authors

  • Trenton W. Holliday,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
    • Correspondence to: Trenton W. Holliday, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, 101 Dinwiddie Hall, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. E-mail: thollid@tulane.edu

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  • Lukáš Friedl

    1. Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
    2. Department of Anthropology, University of West Bohemia, Plzeň, Czech Republic
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ABSTRACT

Variation in humeral morphology among hominoids has long been recognized in relation to both phylogeny and behavior. Here, we use 3D landmark data to analyze humeral shape among hominoids, including hylobatids (n = 37), Pongo (n = 33), Homo (n = 74), Pan (n = 55), and Gorilla (n = 45) to examine the relative influence of phylogenetic history vs. locomotor adaptation on humeral shape. Principal components analysis (PCA) of Procrustes shape data derived from 19 humeral type II or type III landmarks (Bookstein, 1991) for these taxa reveals the following: PC1, which primarily reflects the humeral torsion (or lack thereof) and relative diaphyseal and epiphyseal breadths, separates the relatively narrow-shafted, small articular dimensions and low humeral torsion Hylobates, and to a lesser extent, Pongo, humeri from those of the African hominoids. PC2, which largely contrasts shafts that are posteriorly convex (high PC2 scores) with antero-posteriorly straight humeral shafts (low PC2 scores) separates Homo, who tend to have A-P straighter shafts, from the more A-P bowed humeral shafts of the apes. These shape patterns suggest that the bowed shafts of Pan, Pongo, and Gorilla (and to a lesser extent, hylobatids) are due to the fact that in each of these taxa, the humerus is a weight-bearing bone, whereas the shafts of Homo are freed from locomotion. More subtle behavioral indicators are also elucidated, whereas cluster analyses (minimum spanning tree fit to a principal coordinates [PCO] plot and UPGMA dendrogram) reveal strong phylogenetic signals in the hominoid humerus as well. Am J Phys Anthropol 152:506–515, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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