By J. C. Schoute
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According to the review done by Straus (1942), this structure was lacking in 31% (5 out of 16), rudimentary and inutile in 41% (6 out of 16), and “wholly present” in 28% (4 out of 16) of gorillas. Within the six hands of the two adult gorillas in which we analyze this feature in detail (Diogo et al. 2010) and of the baby gorilla, this tendon was present, but was mainly a ‘vestigial’, thin structure. In fact, in these gorillas, as well as in a great part of the gorillas dissected by other authors in which the tendon to digit 1 is present, this tendon is mainly originated from fascia lying over the thenar muscles of the hand.
Andrews & Groves (1976) stated that in gorillas the insertion of the muscle onto the clavicle is superficial/lateral to the trapezius, but Deniker (1885), Sommer (1907), Schück (1913a,b), Raven (1950), Preuschoft (1965) and Jouffroy (1971) stated that it is actually deep/medial to the this latter muscle, a statement that was corroborated by our dissections (see Fig. 2). Stewart (1936) stated that the attachment of the levator claviculae onto the clavicle extended medially to a point just lateral to the midpoint of this bone.
As there is much confusion in the literature about the socalled ‘superficial and deep heads of the flexor pollicis brevis’ in gorillas (and other primates), we described in detail the condition found in one of our adult gorillas in Diogo et al. (2010). In both sides of this specimen, there was a distinct ‘deep head’ (flexor brevis profundus 2 sensu Diogo & Abdala 2010), which was partially blended to the opponens pollicis and mainly connected the flexor retinaculum to the metacarpophalangeal joint and the base of the proximal phalanx of digit 1.