The three-dimensional structure of trabecular bone in the femoral head of strepsirrhine primates

Timothy M. Ryan, Richard A. Ketcham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


It has been hypothesized for over a hundred years that trabecular bone plays an important structural role in the musculoskeletal system of animals and that it responds dynamically to applied loads through growth. The objectives of this study are to quantify the three-dimensional structure of femoral head trabecular bone in a sample of extant strepsirrhines and to relate patterns of interspecific variation to locomotor behavioral differences. The bone volume fraction (BV/TV) and fabric anisotrophy of trabecular bone in the femoral heads of Cheirogaleus major, Avahi laniger, Galago senegalensis, Galago alleni, Loris tardigradus, Otolemur crassicaudatus, and Perodicticus potto were quantified in three dimensions using serial high-resolution X-ray computed tomography scan data. A volume based method was used to quantify the structural anisotropy in three cubic samples located inside the central portion of the femoral head. Significant structural differences were found between the predominantly leaping galagines and indriids and the nonleaping lorisines and cheirogaleids. The leapers in general have relatively anisotropic trabecular bone. The galagines display a unique pattern of decreasing bone volume and increasing anisotropy moving from the superior to the inferior half of the femoral head. By contrast, the nonleaping taxa possess relatively uniform and isotropic bone throughout the femoral head. The differences in femoral head trabecular structure among these taxa seem to be related to locomotor behavioral differences, reflecting variation in the use and loading of the hip joint during normal locomotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology


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