Navigation Links
Long bone shape: A family affair
Date:10/4/2011

This release is available in German.

Although humans and chimpanzees move quite differently, muscle attachment sites at their thighbones are similar. This result, which has recently been published by anthropologists of Zurich University in the scientific journal Anatomical Record, has major consequences for the interpretation of fossil hominid finds.

PhD student Naoki Morimoto, member of the Computer-Assisted Paleoanthropology group of Ch. Zollikofer and M. Ponce de Len, and junior author of the study, was surprised by his own findings. Although humans are bipeds, and chimps are quadrupeds, muscle attachment sites at their thighbones are quite similar. Attachment sites differ substantially, however, between chimpanzees and gorillas, although these great apes species move similarly. Interestingly, Morimoto's results are in line with insights from genetics: humans and chimps are evolutionary sister species, while gorillas are more distant relatives, like cousins. Morimoto explains the seeming paradox of his results: this is not form follows function, but form follows family.

Functional inferences: a cautionary tale

The new findings have far-reaching implications for the interpretation of fossil hominin remains. Fossil thighbone shafts are often well preserved, but it now appears that inferences about locomotor behavior must be drawn with caution, while inferences about the fossil's evolutionary relationships might be more straightforward. Anthropologist Ch. Zollikofer explains: the transition from great-ape-like quadrupedal to human-like bipedal locomotion is accompanied by several changes in the hip and thighbones, but currently we cannot infer functional change from structural change with any certainty. And he asks the next big question of paleoanthropology: Why did the last common ancestor of humans and chimps, who might have lived 7-8 million years ago, evolve novel thighbone features?

Virtual dissection

To get a detailed look at great ape musculoskeletal anatomy, the research team combined high-resolution computed tomography with computer-assisted virtual dissection. Great ape bodies are a scarce and valuable resource for scientific studies, and anthropologists are increasingly reluctant to sacrifice them for anatomical dissections. Virtual autopsy or Virtopsy is the method of choice. Virtopsy was pioneered by Michael Thali (Institute of Forensic Science, UZH), and is now used in forensic institutes worldwide. Anthropological virtopsy has enormous potential, as it permits virtual dissection of one single specimen by many different researchers, and according to many different criteria, without actually deteriorating the orginal body. Moreover, great ape virtopsy gives an immediate picture of the spatial relationships between soft and hard tissues (bones) of one and the same individual. Traditionally, bone morphology was studied on dry-skeleton specimens, and subsequently combined with muscle data obtained from dissections of other animals.

Acquiring 3D tomographic data of great ape bodies, however, is a complex endeavor, which requires collaboration across disciplines. To reach these goals, the Visible Ape Consortium was established, which has become an example of efficient transdisciplinary research at UZH (see below).


'/>"/>

Contact: Naoki Morimoto
morimoto@aim.uzh.ch
41-446-355-441
University of Zurich
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Queens University Belfast researchers trace octopuses family tree
2. Children distressed by family fighting have higher stress hormones
3. Planetary "first family" discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
4. Planetary first family discovered by astronomers using Gemini and Keck Observatories
5. Making the ultimate family sacrifice
6. Microscopic morphology adds to the scorpion family tree
7. Mayo Clinic researchers suspect a novel gene is causing restless legs syndrome in a large family
8. Regular family meals result in better eating habits for adolescents
9. Early family ties: No sponge in the human family tree
10. Rotator cuff tears: Are they all in the family?
11. Late motherhood boosts family lifespan
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Long bone shape: A family affair
(Date:4/11/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 11, 2017 ... "Company"), a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent ... John Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the ... ... behalf of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during ... diseases is the primary factor for the growth of ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global ... product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider ... from around the world, is announcing a new textbook scholarship, the second scholarship in ... graduate students, 17 years or older, pursuing a degree in one of the life ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... WASHINGTON, DC, USA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... the economy as well as an enabler of life-saving medical and other vital technologies ... and photonics . They joined others in the scientific community today in responding to ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted by ... and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, ... scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... A new Technology ... Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on quantum devices, graphene electronic ... Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting in North America, will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: