The estimated mechanical advantage of the prosimian ankle joint musculature, and implications for locomotor adaptation



Ryosuke Goto, Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Department of Human Sciences, Osaka University, 1-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. E:


In this study we compared the power arm lengths and mechanical advantages attributed to 12 lower leg muscles across three prosimian species. The origins and insertions of the lower leg muscles in Garnett's galago, the ring-tailed lemur, and the slow loris were quantified and correlated with positional behaviour. The ankle joint of the galago has a speed-oriented mechanical system, in contrast to that of the slow loris, which exhibits more power-oriented mechanics. The lemur ankle joint exhibited intermediate power arm lengths and an intermediate mechanical advantage relative to the other primates. This result suggests that the mechanical differences in the ankle between the galago and the lemur, taxa that exhibit similar locomotory repertoires, reflect a difference in the kinematics and kinetics of leaping (i.e. generalised vs. specialised leapers). In contrast to leaping primates, lorises have developed a more power-oriented mechanical system as a foot adaptation for positional behaviours such as bridging or cantilevering in their arboreal habitat.