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Primate locomotion. Edited by Farish A. Jenkins. Jr. xii + 390 pp. figures tables bibliography index. Academic Press New York. 1974. $34

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organisms” (p. 8). Fortunately, this passage from the terrestrial to the celestial
is momentary.
The descriptive chapters (2, 3, 6, 8, 9,
10, 12, 13, 14) begin with listings of “material.” This is quite informative. One is
immediately struck by the impoverishment
of the empirical base upon which functional and evolutionary hypotheses might
be structured. This is particularly true of
Paranthropus. The apparent unusually
small size of the best preserved individual
of Homo africanus (Sts 14) should also be
quite troublesome to evolutionary theorists.
Robinson focuses on the lower limb, especially the pelvis, in his analyses because
the majority of fossil bits are from this
region and they would be expected most
reasonably to reflect bipedal positional
activities. But the reader soon encounters
a stopper par excellence in joining this
adventure. On page 24 Robinson explains
that many of the pelvic measurements
that he employed are not standard ones.
He refers the reader to a key on page 264.
It is blank. The key will be found on page
354, buried amidst the figures and far
removed from the tables to which i t pertains (pp. 265-273).
The text is generally tedious because of
an inordinate amount of repetition of factual and interpretive points. Treating the
figures as back matter also contributes to
the tediousness of the work. I found the
initiation of some major interpretative sections with lengthy counterpunches toward
the ideas (some of them vintage) of previous authors somewhat more distractive
than elucidative. I would prefer to read
straightforward firsthand functional interpretations followed by thorough comparisons with other models.
Robinson repeats the overgeneralization
that pongids cannot “as a rule” completely straighten the lower limb and concludes
therefrom that “erect walking in a pongid
requires a great deal of energy” (p. 73).
While the latter statement may be true the
former is falsified by the fact that many
juvenile and adult orangutans and gorillas
can stand bipedally with extended and
even hyperextended hip and knee joints.
Robinson’s functional interpretation is
hampered by the incomplete nature of
EMG studies not only on pongid apes but
also on man. For example, (p. 81) he is
forced to speculate about some functions
of the human gluteus maximus muscle.
His suggestion that it is used in copulation should be followed up by EMG studies.
There should be little difficulty obtaining
volunteers for kinesiological experiments
on this highly variable activity.
Inferences about relative size in Homo
africanus and Paranthropus are also
fraught with difficulties. Robinson
“guesses” that females of the former
weighed 40-60 pounds while “Paranthrop u s individuals probably weighed three or
four times as much.” He suggests that
H . africanus was four to four and one-half
feet tall whereas Paranthropus was no
more than five feet tall (p. 154). Both were
pot-bellied and broad-beamed. If Paranthropus achieved the upper limits of Robinson’s expectations they might have been
avoirdupoidal rollers instead of bipeds or
knuckle-walk ers.
My overview impression is that Robinson’s scheme of hominid evolution still
must rest primarily on the cranial evidence. It does not emerge more upstanding from the postcranial evidence as presented in Early Hominid Posture and
University of Chicago
LOCOMOTION.Edited by Farish
A. Jenkins. Jr. xii
390 pp., figures,
tables, bibliography, index. Academic
Press, New York. 1974. $34.00 (cloth).
Primates move in unusually diverse and
complex ways. Study of their locomotion
has emerged as a subject of disproportionate interest and difficulty. Such parameters as force, stress, excursion, and timing
are arduous to analyze in the laboratory
and so far have defied measurement in the
field. The challenge is inviting. Also, primate locomotion is studied in search of
clues to our own past.
This book is one of several recent works
that provide a window through which to
glimpse the state of the field: its methods
and accomplishments and also its frustrations and controversies. The preface hopefully states that “the book is intended not
only for researchers dealing with primate
locomotion, but equally for students and
others who share an interest in mammals
and locomotor adaptations.” Unless the
“students and others” already know the
generic names of primates, living and extinct, and the meanings of such terms as
synostotic, lunula, paromomyiform, peroneal tubercle, and bifascicular palmar radiocarpal ligament, they are likely to return the book to the library unfinished.
The volume will be most useful to primatologists wishing to update themselves in
areas of specialization close to, but a little
different than their own. Advanced students and specialists alike will appreciate
the extensive bibliographies which conclude
each chapter.
The book is not the outgrowth of a symposium, as is common for similar volumes,
but instead is a collection of contributions
directly solicited by the editor. The eleven
chapters are authored by thirteen persons
of whom seven are in the United States
and the remainder in Utrecht, Paris, London, and Nairobi. Having invited the papers, the editor probably could not gracefully refuse or really edit what came in.
Accordingly, the contributions are uneven
in quality, scope, and style and together do
not provide an integrated overview of the
subject - the usual occurrence in similar
The opening chapter by D. M. Badoux
is about biomechanical principles. Although
not highly technical it moves fast for anyone needing the schooling. Hypothetical
analogs are used rather than representative actual relationships. A chapter by Matt
Cartmill on pads and claws in arboreal
locomotion is broadly comparative and
functionally analytical. Some conclusions:
Clawed feet are as well adapted to most
arboreal activity as prehensile feet, and
are superior on large nonhorizontal supports. The last common ancestor of extant
primates was a small, clawed predator.
Grasping feet probably evolved as an adaptation to the slow stalking of insect prey.
The editor contributes a detailed account
of the locomotion of tree shrews based in
part on cineradiography. (One must assume the original film is superior to the
reproductions.) He concludes that the question of arboreal versus terrestrial ancestry
of mammals is no longer relevant. Mesozoic mammals, resembling tree shrews in
versatility of locomotor habits, probably
were equally at home in trees and on the
uneven forest floor.
F. K. Jouffroy and J. P. Gasc discuss
fuzzy but plausible cineradiographic film
that shows in one plane the take off of one
galago leaping from one constant point to
another. In six of seven records the animal
jumps diagonally using only one leg. We
have here a fascinating peek into what
is probably a large bag of tricks. In a
chapter which mostly summarizes his own
previous papers, 0. J. Lewis uses the detailed anatomy of the wrist joint to support
the conclusion that the Hominoidea did
not evolve from more or less quadrupedal
forms but instead had a brachiating ancestry.
The chapter on the primate scapula by
David Roberts seems weak to this reviewer.
Some of the ideas are of interest, but the
analysis is rather speculative. There is inexact usage of terms and the style is difficult. For example, a numbered conclusion
begins: “The area of the scapular fossae
appears to be related to the stabilization
of the shoulder joint and to the requirements of the forelimbs, such as the amount
of circumduction and the power or complexity of use in any given position.” Here,
“power” does not seem to mean rate of
doing work, and the entire sentence apparently says that the structure of scapulae
relates to the function of the shoulder which does not put us far ahead.
M. D. Rose attempts to classify and interpret postural adaptations. The task being difficult, his categories are somewhat
overlapping. One misses a summary. Two
chapters on the astragalus and calcaneum
of Paleocene and Eocene prfmates are coauthored by F. S. Szalay and R. L. Decker.
Their descriptive, functional, and phylogenetic analysis is technical and sometimes encumbered by awkward sentence
structure and usages (e.g., what is a “heel
advantage”). They believe the differentiation of primates correlated with the invasion of the arboreal zone from an “erinaceotan or condylarth ancestry.” Vertical
clinging and leaping was not primitive for
the order.
In the longest chapter, R. H. Tuttle and
J. V. Basmajian first describe preliminary
electromyographic study of five arm muscles of one young gorilla mostly recorded
ozoic mammals and Tertiary mammals can
be read with profit.
The source material for Dr. Jerison’s
basic contributions is derived largely from
quantitative data -from
the so-called
brain-body relation. From the size of the
fossil brain endocast to body size of the
animal and other quantitative data, many
interesting concepts, interpretations and
speculations are made. The following is one
example. The “lower” vertebrates -fish,
amphibia and reptiles - have probably always been at the same level of evolution
with regards to the relation of brain size to
body size. This relation is basically similar
in all these classes of vertebrates through
their entire phylogenetic history from the
Ordovician period to the present. In contrast, the larger brain size to body size in
the large brain vertebrates is a feature,
which appeared independently in two classes - birds and mammals -during the
Mesozoic age. The enlarged brain to body
size of the mammals during this age remained at a “Mesozoic level” for 100 million years. This was followed during the
Cenozoic age by a further increase in the
relative brain size to body size until the
present level was attained. The latter took
place during the past 50 million years or so.
These and other similar observations and
University of Cnlifornici,
deductions add another dimension to an
understanding of evolution. Although the
precise accuracy of some data used (e.g.,
OF THE BRAIN AND INTELLI- body weight of fossil species) can be chalGENCE. By Harry J. Jerison, xiv
482 lenged, the same would apply to other
pp., figures, tables, bibliographies, in- means of deriving quantitative data.
Many of the plausible conclusions and
dex. Academic Press, New York and
concepts in this book, although related to
London. 1973. $25.00 (cloth).
the evolution of the brain, are not actually
The significsnce of this book stems main- derived from the data. This is due in part
ly from an approach which utilizes evi- because the brain is essentially treated as
dence based upon the extant brain endo- a single unit - a statistic or a black box.
casts from each of the classes of vertebrates. The role of the brain during phylogeny reThus the appropriateness of the dedication sides primarily in the functional domain.
of this volume to Dr. Tilly Edinger (1897- This cannot be derived from the total
1967), the illustrious pioneer neuropaleon- weight or volume of the brain. Rather i t
flows from an understanding of how the
The scope of the presentation is pano- component systems (e.g., optic, limbic and
ramic. In this context, the book should be motor) are integrated into the economy of
of value to physical anthropologists and the brain, the nervous system and the orstudents of vertebrate evolution, because it ganism. In this sense, the word intelligence
does convey the “more general perspective in the title of the book could have, in the
of the history of the brain in vertebrates” reviewer’s opinion, better been omitted.
in a geologic setting effectively. The chap- This single unit approach in the book does
ters on the amphibia, reptiles, birds, Mes- deemphasize the significant roles of the
while the animal was partially under the
influence of anesthetic. The muscles provided stability to the hand. This is followed
by a virtually unrelated review of theories
of hominoid phylogeny in light of concepts
of knuckle-walking. In a previous chapter
Lewis disagrees with Tuttle, and here Tuttle fires back. The chapter closes with a
challenge to all who believe knuckle-walking preceded brachiation to justify their
evolutionary model. Aside from the hint
of acrimony, one wonders why it sometimes
takes several anthropologists to examine
one null hypothesis.
In the concluding chapter, Alan Walker
analyzes locomotor adaptations of prosimians. There being no fossils of “slow climbers,” he identifies skeletal characteristics
that distinguish “active quadrupeds” from
“vertical clingers and leapers.” He concludes that Eocene to Oligocene prosimians
of America and Europe were vertical clingers and leapers.
The glimpse of the field provided by this
book shows various workers making slow
progress on a difficult but fascinating puzzle. It is a useful glimpse, though the nine
cents per page cost will cloud the window
for some.
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xii, figuren, 390, jenkins, index, academic, bibliography, new, york, locomotive, primate, farish, edited, 1974, tablet, pres
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