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:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... India , March 28, 2017 ... IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software ... Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD ... between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... ThermaGenix, the PCR Improvement Company, announces ... several other early achievements at ThermaGenix, including the business formation and licensing agreements, ... will use proceeds from the Series A-1 round to:, , ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 19, 2017 , ... As part of the ... to novices as well as experienced users, attendees will gain a better understanding ... tests. , Hemostasis testing quality is determined by preanalytical variables which encompass ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... Calif. , April 19, 2017  As ... Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit ,  Proove┬« Biosciences, ... study analyzing genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors to ... from the University of Southern California (USC), the ... , and Proove publish results showing that Proove ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... Calif. , April 19, 2017 ... ) today announced that it will report its ... market on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Following the announcement, Veracyte,s management ... at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss the company,s financial ... webcast and subsequent replay may be accessed by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: