knuckle walking

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A style of locomotion, practised by gorillas and chimpanzees, in which an animal walks on all fours with the fingers of its forelimbs partially flexed, so its knuckles make contact with the ground. The backs of the intermediate phalanges of the hand bear the weight and the metacarpophalangeal joints are hyperextended. Orang-utans (Pongo pygmaeus) practise a similar type of locomotion called fist walking, with the weight borne on the backs of the proximal phalanges.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

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