Tail Growth Tracks the Ontogeny of Prehensile Tail Use in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus albifrons and C. apella)


Tail Growth Tracks the Ontogeny of Prehensile Tail Use in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus albifrons and C. apella)


Russo G A; Young J W


American Journal of Physical Anthropology




Physical anthropologists have devoted considerable attention to the structure and function of the primate prehensile tail. Nevertheless, previous morphological studies have concentrated solely on adults, despite behavioral evidence that among many primate taxa, including capuchin monkeys, infants and juveniles use their prehensile tails during a greater number and greater variety of positional behaviors than do adults. In this study, we track caudal vertebral growth in a mixed longitudinal sample of white-fronted and brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus albifrons and Cebus apella). We hypothesized that young capuchins would have relatively robust caudal vertebrae, affording them greater tail strength for more frequent tail-suspension behaviors. Our results supported this hypothesis. Caudal vertebral bending strength (measured as polar section modulus at midshaft) scaled to body mass with negative allometry, while craniocaudal length scaled to body mass with positive allometry, indicating that infant and juvenile capuchin monkeys are characterized by particularly strong caudal vertebrae for their body size. These findings complement previous results showing that long bone strength similarly scales with negative ontogenetic allometry in capuchin monkeys and add to a growing body of literature documenting the synergy between postcranial growth and the changing locomotor demands of maturing animals. Although expanded morphometric data on tail growth and behavioral data on locomotor development are required, the results of this study suggest that the adult capuchin prehensile-tail phenotype may be attributable, at least in part, to selection on juvenile performance, a possibility that deserves further attention. Am J Phys Anthropol 146:465-473, 2011. (C) 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


alouatta-palliata; Anthropology; bending strength; Evolutionary Biology; growth; macaca-mulatta; musculoskeletal system; ontogeny; platyrrhine caudal vertebrae; positional behavior; postnatal; segment distribution; squirrel-monkeys; tails; tissue composition; world monkeys



Journal Article

Search for Full-text

Users with a NEOMED Library login can search for full-text journal articles at the following url: https://libraryguides.neomed.edu/home


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








Russo G A; Young J W, “Tail Growth Tracks the Ontogeny of Prehensile Tail Use in Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus albifrons and C. apella),” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 27, 2024, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/6980.