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Manipulation abilities among hominids : a multidisciplinary study with behavior, morphology and modelling

Abstract : Humans are considered to have unique manual abilities in the animal kingdom. However, we still do not know what the real manual abilities of primates are, nor how they evolved. Are humans really unique? This dissertation aims to investigate the manipulative abilities in Hominids related to their hand anatomy and function, using an interdisciplinary framework combining behavioral, morphological, functional, and biomechanical approaches. To quantify the behavioral strategies and manipulative abilities in Hominids, I have conducted an ethological study on different captive great apes and on humans during the same complex tool use task. I used 3D geometric morphometrics and comparative approaches on the trapeziometacarpal complex combined with a musculo-skeletal model to better interpret the behavioral results and to test the link between hand morphometric and biomechanical constraints during tool use in Hominids. The results of this PhD show that great apes demonstrate dynamic manipulative abilities but that each species has its own specificities. More complex dynamic abilities, such as in-hand movements, are observed for bonobos and gorillas than for orangutans. The different lifestyles of the species may explain this variability. Moreover, during the complex tool use task, humans perform better than great apes and show specificities. The new integrative approach also clearly shows that the different manipulative abilities of Hominids cannot only be a consequence of the different morphologies of the trapeziometacarpal joint but also of the different mechanical constraints related to the overall hand morphometric. These results highlight the difficulty to infer manual abilities in fossils from some bone shape information, without taking into account the overall morphometric of the hand and its possible link with biomechanical constraints. This PhD thesis provides new information on the manual abilities of Hominids, on the different constraints surrounding these abilities, and new information to better understand the evolution of manual abilities in primates.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 15, 2018 - 9:53:51 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021 - 7:54:58 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01816944, version 1




Ameline Bardo. Manipulation abilities among hominids : a multidisciplinary study with behavior, morphology and modelling. Tissues and Organs [q-bio.TO]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016USPCB079⟩. ⟨tel-01816944⟩



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