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Warburton N.M.,Murdoch University | Yakovleff M.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Malric A.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2012

Tree-kangaroos (Dendrolagini) are Australasian marsupials that inhabit tropical forests of far north-eastern Queensland and New Guinea. The secondary adaptation of tree-kangaroos to an arboreal lifestyle from a terrestrial heritage offers an excellent opportunity to study the adaptation of the musculoskeletal system for arboreal locomotion, particularly from a template well adapted to terrestrial bipedal saltation. We present a detailed descriptive study of the hind limb musculature of Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (D. lumholtzi) in comparison to other macropodines to test whether the hind limb musculature of tree-kangaroos is functionally adapted to the different mechanical demands of locomotion in the uneven three-dimensional arboreal environment. The hind limb musculature of Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), the western brush wallaby (Macropus irma), the western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) and the quokka (Setonix brachyurus) are described. The hind limb anatomy of D. lumholtzi differed from that of the terrestrial macropodines in that the muscles had a greater degree of internal differentiation, relatively longer fleshy bellies and very short, stout tendons of insertion. There was also a modified arrangement of muscle origins and insertions that enhance mechanical advantage. Differences in the relative proportions of the hind limb muscle mass between tree-kangaroos and terrestrial macropodines reflect adaptation of the limb musculature of tree-kangaroos for arboreal locomotion. The hind limb musculature of Setonix was different to that of both Dendrolagus and Macropus, possibly reflecting its more basal phylogenetic position within the Macropodinae. © 2012 CSIRO.


Warburton N.M.,Murdoch University | Malric A.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Yakovleff M.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Leonard V.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Cailleau C.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2015

Bandicoots and bilbies (order Peramelemorphia) represent the principal group of omnivorous marsupials from a range of habitats across Australia and New Guinea. Bandicoots and bilbies most commonly use quadrupedal, asymmetrical half-bounding or bounding gaits and present an unusual combination of hind limb morphological features, including an ossified patella, a modified tibiofibular joint, and syndactylous morphology of the pes. We performed comparative dissections of the hind limb of the southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer) (n≤13) and greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) (n≤4), providing detailed descriptions of the muscular anatomy. These species displayed significant modification of the hind limb muscular anatomy and associated connective tissues, including emphasis on multiarticular muscles, such as the hamstrings, and extreme development of fascial structures. These patterns were more extreme in I. obesulus than in M. lagotis. Differences between the hind limb anatomy of I. obesulus and M. lagotis reflect the different ecological and environmental pressures on their locomotion and digging behaviours. © 2015 CSIRO.


Warburton N.M.,Murdoch University | Gregoire L.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Jacques S.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse | Flandrin C.,LEcole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2013

Bandicoots and bilbies (Peramelemorphia) represent a distinct lineage within the marsupial adaptive radiation, which despite several curious anatomical traits has received little morphological attention. Many bandicoot species (family Peramelidae) dig for subterranean food, while bilbies (family Thylacomyidae) employ their forelimbs to dig extensive burrow systems for shelter. In the current study, dissections of the southern brown bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus) (n≤7) and greater bilby (Macrotis lagotis) (n≤4) provide the first anatomical descriptions of forelimb musculature in these species. The anatomical arrangement of forelimb muscles in I. obesulus and M. lagotis differs from that of other marsupials and corresponds to the aclaviculate pectoral girdle and modified arrangement of digits in the study species. Comparative and functional interpretations indicate that the forelimb of I. obesulus is well equipped for scratch digging and demonstrates muscular modifications in order to generate large out-forces. The bones of the forelimb, and in particular the antebrachium, are relatively short, stout bones, improving both their resistance to mechanical forces and providing a mechanical advantage via a reduced out-lever length. There has been an increase in the absolute volume of muscles employed during digging, thereby increasing the magnitude of the in-force. Increased in-lever lengths have been achieved via the migration of muscle insertions, including the elongate olecranon for the insertion of the m. triceps brachii, and the distal migration of the humeral attachments of the teres major, latissimus dorsi and superficial pectoral muscles. © 2013 CSIRO.

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