In this study, aspects of the structural mechanics of the upper and lower limbs of the three Chinese species of Rhinopithecus were examined. Linear regression and reduced major axis (RMA) analyses of natural log-transformed data were used to examine the dimensions of limb bones and other relationships to body size and locomotion. The results of this study suggest that: (1) the allometry exponents of the lengths of long limbs deviate from isometry, being moderately negative, while the shaft diameters (both sagittal and transverse) show significantly positive allometry; (2) the sagittal diameters of the tibia and ulna show extremely significantly positive allometry - the relative enlargement of the sagittal, as opposed to transverse, diameters of these bones suggests that the distal segments of the fore- and hindlimbs of Rhinopithecus experience high bending stresses during locomotion; (3) observations of Rhinopithecus species in the field indicate that all species engage in energetic leaping during arboreal locomotion. The limbs experience rapid and dramatic decelerations upon completion of a leap. We suggest that these occasional decelerations produce high bending stresses in the distal limb segments and so account for the hypertrophy of the sagittal diameters of the ulna and tibia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology