188 pages, 68 illus
Profund changes in the mode of locomotion have taken place in the evolution of mammals; especially the shoulder region has been completely restructured. A comprehensive study on the locomotion and idiomotion of the hyrax Procavia capensis leads to a new functional interpretation of the locomotory apparatus.
A basic principle in the locomotion of small to medium-sized-mammals is the gain of step length in a high fulcrum combined with a crouched posture. Unexpectedly, scapular displacement and additive sagittal lumbar spine movements already make up to 70% of propulsion. The primary limb joints serve mainly as tuning mechanisms for vertical limb control. Various evolutionary aspects of the locomotory systems such as adaptivity to different terrains, coupling of breathing and locomotion, or regionalization of the vertebral column are discussed.
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