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Publication Detail
Morphological integration in the gorilla, chimpanzee, and human neck.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
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  • Authors:
    Arlegi M, Gómez-Robles A, Gómez-Olivencia A
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    American journal of physical anthropology
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  • Addresses:
    Department of Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), Barrio Sarriena s/n, Leioa, 48940, Spain.
Although integration studies are important to understand the evolution of organisms' traits across phylogenies, vertebral integration in primates is still largely unexplored. Here we describe and quantify patterns of morphological integration and modularity in the subaxial cervical vertebrae (C3-C7) in extant hominines incorporating the potential influence of size.Three-dimensional landmarks were digitized on 546 subaxial cervical vertebrae from 141 adult individuals of Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and Homo sapiens. Integration and modularity, and the influence of size effects, were quantified using geometric morphometric approaches.All subaxial cervical vertebrae from the three species show a strong degree of integration. Gorillas show the highest degree of integration; conversely, humans have the lowest degree of integration. Analyses of allometric regression residuals show that size is an important factor promoting integration in gorillas, with lesser influence in chimpanzees and almost no effect in humans.Results point to a likely ancestral pattern of integration in non-human hominines, whereby the degree of integration decreases from cranial to caudal positions. Humans deviate from this pattern in the cranialmost (C3) and, to a lesser extent, in the caudalmost (C7) vertebrae, which are less integrated. These differences can be tentatively related to the emergence of bipedalism due to the presence of modern human-like C3 in australopiths, which still preserve a more chimpanzee-like C7.
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