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Comparison of hand use and forelimb posture during vertical climbing in mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Neufuss, Johanna, Robbins, Martha M., Baeumer, Jana, Humle, Tatyana, Kivell, Tracy L. (2017) Comparison of hand use and forelimb posture during vertical climbing in mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 164 (4). pp. 651-664. ISSN 0002-9483. (doi:10.1002/ajpa.23303)

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Abstract

Objectives: Studies on grasping and limb posture during arboreal locomotion in great apes in their natural environment are scarce and thus, attempts to correlate behavioral and habitat differences with variation in morphology are limited. The aim of this study is to compare hand use and forelimb posture during vertical climbing in wild, habituated mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) and semi-free-ranging chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) to assess differences in the climbing styles that may relate to variation in hand or forelimb morphology and body size. Materials and methods: We investigated hand use and forelimb posture during both ascent and descent vertical climbing in 15 wild mountain gorillas and eight semi-free-ranging chimpanzees, using video records obtained ad libitum. Results: In both apes, forelimb posture was correlated with substrate size during both ascent and descent climbing. While climbing, both apes used power grips and diagonal power grips, including three different thumb postures. Mountain gorillas showed greater ulnar deviation of the wrist during vertical descent than chimpanzees, and the thumb played an important supportive role when gorillas vertically descended lianas. Discussion: We found that both apes generally had the same grip preferences and used similar forelimb postures on supports of a similar size, which is consistent with their overall similarity in hard and soft tissue morphology of the hand and forelimb. However, some species-specific differences in morphology appear to elicit slightly different grasping strategies during vertical climbing between mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/ajpa.23303
Projects: [UNSPECIFIED] GRASP
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Tracy Kivell
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2017 12:00 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 14:27 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/63464 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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