Although the hominid knee has been heavily scrutinized, shape variation of the medial tibial condyle has yet to be described. Humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas differ in the shape of their medial femoral condyles and in their capacity for external and internal rotation of the tibia relative to the femur. I hypothesize that these differences should be reflected in the shape of the medial tibial condyle of these hominids. Here I use geometric morphometric techniques to uncover shape differences between the medial tibial condyles of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Humans are distinguished from the other two species by having a much more oval-shaped medial tibial condyle, while those of chimpanzees and gorillas are more triangular in outline. Gorillas (especially males) are distinguished by having more concavely-curved condyles (mediolateral direction), which is interpreted as an effect of heavy loading through the medial compartment of the knee in conjunction with differences in the degree of arboreality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics