• biomechanics;
  • inertial parameters;
  • locomotion;
  • Pan troglodytes;
  • primates


Inertial characteristics and dimensions of the body and body segments form an integral part of a biomechanical analysis of motion. In primate studies, however, segment inertial parameters of non-human hominoids are scarce and often obtained using varying techniques. Therefore, the principal aim of this study was to expand the existing chimpanzee inertial property data set using a non-invasive measuring technique. We also considered age- and sex-related differences within our sample. By means of a geometric model based on Crompton et al. (1996; Am J Phys Anthropol 99, 547–570) we generated inertial properties using external segment length and diameter measurements of 53 anaesthetized chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). We report absolute inertial parameters for immature and mature subjects and for males and females separately. Proportional data were computed to allow the comparison between age classes and sex classes. In addition, we calculated whole limb inertial properties and we discuss their potential biomechanical consequences. We found no significant differences between the age classes in the proportional data except for hand and foot measures where juveniles exhibit relatively longer and heavier distal segments than adults. Furthermore, most sex-related differences can be directly attributed to the higher absolute segment masses in male chimpanzees resulting in higher moments of inertia. Additionally, males tend to have longer upper limbs than females. However, regarding proportional data we discuss the general inertial properties of the chimpanzee. The described segment inertial parameters of males and females, and of the two age classes, represent a valuable data set ready for use in a range of biomechanical locomotor models. These models offer great potential for improving our understanding of early hominin locomotor patterns.