The hind limb step cycle of Iguana and primitive reptiles



The hind limb step cycle of Iguana is described and compared with other lizards. In generalized lizards with well developed limbs, the femur retracts through a large arc and rotates as it retracts, flexion of the crus on the metatarsus occurs during the initial part of the propulsive phase and extension of the knee and ankle during the final part, the crus rotates to face laterally, the metatarsus is laterally directed at the time of pedal plantarflexion, and pedal plantarflexion involves an initial rotation of the metatarsus around its long axis followed by an extension of the ankle joint. The evolutionary significance of the differences in the hind limb step cycle of lizards and salamanders is considered and it is shown that in many, but not all, features, primitive reptiles would have been like salamanders. The primitive step cycle differs from the mammalian pattern in the large amount of rotation of the limb segments, the large amount of femoral retraction, and the reduced amount of lateral movement of the hip relative to the knee that occurs during femoral retraction.