The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

A phylogenetically-integrated morphological analysis of the hominoid wrist


1Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 2Department of Anthropology, University College London

Thursday 11:00-11:15, Ballroom C Add to calendar

Although the functional morphology of primate wrist and hand bones has been extensively studied in a comparative context, few studies have incorporated phylogenetic information. Here, we apply a new phylogenetically-integrated method to the morphological analysis of hominoid wrist that reveals underlying evolutionary patterns of morphological change. Linear morphological variables of five wrist bones – the scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, capitate and hamate – are analyzed in a diverse sample of extant hominoids (n=12 species), Old World (n=8) and New World (n=4) monkeys and several fossil Miocene ape (n=7) and Plio-Pleistocene hominin (n=8) taxa. Using phylogenetically-weighted Principal Components Analyses for each wrist bone, we identify the morphological features that principally characterize primate wrist evolution and map these morphological changes along individual branches of an independently estimated (molecular) phylogenetic tree. The incorporation of phylogenetic information reveals several occurrences of parallel evolution within the hominoid clade, particularly between Pongo and hylobatids, and among hominines in the scaphoid, triquetrum and capitate. This analysis also reveals that among extant hominoids, Pan often retains the primitive, ancestral morphology, confirming that Pan can be an ideal comparative sample in studies hominin wrist evolution.

This research was funded by the UK National Environment Research Council (NE/H022937/1) and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/60349/2009).

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