The primate semicircular canal system and locomotion

Fred Spoor, Theodore Garland, Gail Krovitz, Timothy M. Ryan, Mary T. Silcox, Alan Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

267 Scopus citations


The semicircular canal system of vertebrates helps coordinate body movements, including stabilization of gaze during locomotion. Quantitative phylogenetically informed analysts 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10808-10812
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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