Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Anatomy Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 191509, 22 pages
Review Article

Comparative Triceps Surae Morphology in Primates: A Review

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, WV 24901, USA
2Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA

Received 16 January 2011; Accepted 28 April 2011

Academic Editor: Adam D. Sylvester

Copyright © 2011 Jandy B. Hanna and Daniel Schmitt. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Primate locomotor evolution, particularly the evolution of bipedalism, is often examined through morphological studies. Many of these studies have examined the uniqueness of the primate forelimb, and others have examined the primate hip and thigh. Few data exist, however, regarding the myology and function of the leg muscles, even though the ankle plantar flexors are highly important during human bipedalism. In this paper, we draw together data on the fiber type and muscle mass variation in the ankle plantar flexors of primates and make comparisons to other mammals. The data suggest that great apes, atelines, and lorisines exhibit similarity in the mass distribution of the triceps surae. We conclude that variation in triceps surae may be related to the shared locomotor mode exhibited by these groups and that triceps surae morphology, which approaches that of humans, may be related to frequent use of semiplantigrade locomotion and vertical climbing.