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The Primate Semicircular Canal System and Locomotion

Fred Spoor, Theodore Garland, Jr., Gail Krovitz, Timothy M. Ryan, Mary T. Silcox and Alan Walker
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 104, No. 26 (Jun. 26, 2007), pp. 10808-10812
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25436020
Page Count: 5
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The Primate Semicircular Canal System and Locomotion
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Abstract

The semicircular canal system of vertebrates helps coordinate body movements, including stabilization of gaze during locomotion. Quantitative phylogenetically informed analysis of the radius of curvature of the three semicircular canals in 91 extant and recently extinct primate species and 119 other mammalian taxa provide support for the hypothesis that canal size varies in relation to the jerkiness of head motion during locomotion. Primate and other mammalian species studied here that are agile and have fast, jerky locomotion have significantly larger canals relative to body mass than those that move more cautiously.

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