Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Inferring positional behavior on the basis of osteometric characters: A model for fossil taxa of the Miocene
by Felder, Ian, M.A., Northern Illinois University, 2011, 137; 1499415
Abstract (Summary)

Inferring the positional behavior of fossil taxa remains problematic due to their fragmentary nature. In this study the fossil taxa Epipliopithecus, Proconsul, and Sivapithecus, were compared to extant taxa to determine if their positional behavior could be inferred. A total of seven extant taxa were selected: Hylobates concolor, Ateles geofrroyi, Brachytles arachnoides, Lagothrix lagothricha, Pygathrix nemaeus, Cebus apella, and Alouatta seniculus. The extant sample was selected as they engage in awide range of positional behaviors in the wild. The extant taxa were used to identify whether or not their positional behaviors could be inferred based on osteometric traits of the forelimb, and to determine whether this information can be used to identify extant taxa as potential models for fossil taxa.

Thirty-eight osteometric characters of the shoulder and elbow were run using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Using PCA it is possible to identify which characters account for the highest level of variation among the taxa examined. This method creates a series of scatter plots using regression factor scores created by PCA, and the plots indicate whether associations exist among the tax examined.

Results of the analysis shows that Eplipliopithecus shares a close association with Lagothrix. The results suggest that Lagothrix acts as the best potential model for Epipliopitheccus inferring that it was capable of both quadrupedalism as well as suspensory behaviors. An analysis of the morphological characters of the forelimb of Proconsul does not show any association with the extant taxa examined suggesting that none of the extant taxa used in this study are an appropriate model for its positional behavior. Analyses of the forelimb of Sivapithecus only resulted in one principal component, thus it was not possible to infer its and its positional behavior.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gebo, Daniel L.
Commitee: Dunsworth, Holly, Gebo, Daniel L., Porter, Leila
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 50/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Paleontology
Publication Number: 1499415
ISBN: 978-1-124-87440-1
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