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The scaling of skeletal microanatomy in nonhuman primates

Paine, R.R.; Godfrey, L.R.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology 37(Suppl S18): 157-158

1994


ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9483
Accession: 033938250

The study of scale-correlated changes in the external dimensions and cross-sectional geometry of primate long bones has long been considered fundamental to developing an understanding of primate limb bone structural adaptations (see, for example, recent studies by Burr, Demes, Godfrey, Jungers, Ruff, Runestad, Schaffler, and Swartz). To date, however, there have been no studies of the direct effects of mechanical loading on patterns of skeletal scaling: i.e., the allometry of secondary osteon production. To remedy this, we have analyzed both intrageneric and intergeneric patterns of microanatomical scaling in the humeri and femora of 108 adult galagonids, papionins, and cercopithecins, using Model II (maximum likelihood estimation) regression. A total of 7 species were included in our analysis. Proximal, midshaft, and distal cross sections of the humerus and femur of each individual were examined, and secondary osteon and cortical areas were measured using a Bioquant image analysis system. In general, secondary osteon area scales positively allometrically relative to body weight and relative to cortical cross-sectional area in all groups examined here. These general patterns hold for humeri and femora both intra- and intergenerically. However, detailed differences in patterns of long bone scaling for various primate taxa appear to be related to differences in their habitual modes of fore- and hind limb mechanical loading. Such differences highlight the importance of examining the confounding effects of positional behavior in studies of skeletal scaling.

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