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Re: pterosaur femora sprawl

David Peters writes:

Animals generally don't stop locomoting palms down without going through some sort of intervening phase. Apes were suspending themselves from branches before becoming knuckle-walkers, so that's in the same league. Chalicotheres and anteaters, also knuckle walkers, may have just one day decided to "save their nails." I don't know about how they changed patterns. Were some small and arboreal?

Platypus are 'knuckle-walkers', but certainly didn't go through an arboreal phase. In their case perhaps it's to protect the webbing between the front toes, or because of the long claws they use to dig burrows.

I suspect knuckle-walking in apes has less to do with climbing, and more to do with the delicate nature of their sensitive palms and fingers. Dexterous tool-using hands with sensitive finger tips are at odds with the type of thick pads required to use the palms to walk on.

It would seem that any quadruped with specialised hands could potentially become a knuckle-walker, if those adaptations in the hands get in the way of locomotion on the ground (or vice versa in the case of great apes).


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             http://heretichides.soffiles.com