Morphological Correlates Of Substrate Use In Didelphid Marsupials: Implications For Primate Origins

Title

Morphological Correlates Of Substrate Use In Didelphid Marsupials: Implications For Primate Origins

Creator

Lemelin P

Publisher

Journal of Zoology

Date

1999
1999-02

Description

The ability of some mammals to forage on vines or terminal branches depends upon their grasping extremities. This study tests the functional link between use of small-diameter supports and grasping abilities by comparing hand and foot proportions in didelphid marsupials. Metapodials and phalanges were measured for the hands and feet of six didelphid taxa characterized by different patterns of substrate use. Comparisons of hand and foot proportions demonstrate that Marmosa and Caluromys, didelphids that rely on vines or terminal branches, possess more prehensile extremities than Monodelphis, Didelphis, and Philander, which travel and feed mainly on the ground. Moreover, the proportions of the hand and foot of Marmosa and Caluromys are more similar to those of cheirogaelid primates than those of other didelphids. These morphological data corroborate the suggestion that the use of branches of small diameter was an important factor in the development of prehensile hands and feet in early primates.

Subject

behavior; cercopithecidae; cheirogaleid primates; didelphid marsupials; evolution; foot; forest; french-guyana; hand; locomotion; mass; opossum caluromys-philander; posture; prehensility; small mammals; Zoology

Format

Journal Article or Conference Abstract Publication

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Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

165-175

Volume

247

Citation

Lemelin P, “Morphological Correlates Of Substrate Use In Didelphid Marsupials: Implications For Primate Origins,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed March 7, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/10702.

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