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

Morphological diversity in the catarrhine pelvis: a comparative 3D geometric morphometric analysis


Department of Anthropology, University of Kent

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The primate pelvis plays an important role in studies of functional morphology; no more so than in the case of the catarrhines. With an increasing number of fossil hominin pelvic specimens being discovered, the importance of understanding taxonomic diversity within our infraorder has perhaps never been greater. However, pelvic morphology is difficult to assess via caliper measurements and traditional morphometric methods. Here, therefore, we used landmark data and adopted a 3D geometric morphometric approach.

Our analyses included 2 males and 2 females for 30 extant taxa, representing 20 total genera. This includes 14 cercopithecoid genera (13 Cercopithecinae species, 7 Colobinae species) and 6 extant genera for the hominoids. Data were collected for 20 landmarks covering one os coxa for each specimen. Data were transformed and registered using Generalized Procrustes Analysis. Data were analysed using Principal Components Analysis. Two analyses were performed; one excluding Homo sapiens, and the second including them.

Results of the first analysis demonstrate that the total diversity of pelvic morphology is greater in hominoids than it is in cercopithecoids. This appears to be driven by a combination of both differing locomotory behaviors in the taxa concerned and the greater effects of size diversity (i.e. allometric effects) in the case of the hominoids. The second analysis showed that Procrustes distances were greater between extant Pan and Homo than they were between any other two catarrhine taxa. This analysis thus quantifies the dramatic effect that the course of hominin evolution had upon the morphology of the human pelvis.

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