The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Investigating load-carrying in non-human primates: the case study of infant-carrying in Olive baboons


1UPR2147, CNRS-France, 2Center for Social Study and Research, University of Tehran, 3Functional Morphology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, 4Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp

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What was the impact of load-carrying at the time of the evolutionary transition to habitual bipedalism? This is a usual palaeoanthropological questioning to which comparative experimental data for non-human locomotor models would help answering; though, nearly none is available. We collected kinematics of loaded and unloaded quadrupedal walking in a group of 60 Olive Baboons at the Primatological Station (CNRS, France). During 5 months of motion capture, 11 females were nursing their infant and regularly walked loaded and unloaded (infants: new born to 1 year old) on the walkway of experiment. Motion captures were performed thanks to the high speed and high definition video recording system (200fps) available at the motion analysis technical platform we setup on the site. Individual inertial properties were calculated using external anatomical measurements. Here, we compared loaded and unloaded spatiotemporal parameters and joint angles for a sample of 30 cycles of walking performed by 4 females. No significant difference between loaded and unloaded parameters was observed. As far as joint angles are concerned, individual variation increases when the female carries the infant; this could reflect varied strategies of carrying. We are improving the experiment with a larger sample of cycles of walking, integrating kinetics and kinematics of several carrying strategies and the mass of infants at different stages of individual development.

Financial support: Fyssen Foundation, CNRS (GDR 2655, INSHS, UPR2147, UPS 846), IBISA 2009, French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs (MAEE)

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