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Contact: David Carrier
University of Utah

Short Legs and Aggression

Caption: This drawing of a male gorilla skeleton illustrates their very short legs. Male gorillas fight to gain access to reproductively mature females. Relatively short legs increase the stability and strength of great apes, and should therefore increase fighting performance. A new University of Utah study suggests human ancestors known as australopiths had short legs for the same reason, not just for climbing trees.

Credit: Public domain, from Alfred Brehm, "Brehms Tierleben" ("Brehm's Life of Animals"), small edition, 1927

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Related news release: These legs were made for fighting

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