There has been a lot of work on monkeys in general regarding transitions between arboreality and terrestriality and the differences such changes may have made to specific species’ anatomies. This type of research has obvious relevance both for comparative anatomy and for understanding our own locomotor transition. The question of how humans got from the trees onto the ground is a contentious one, and understanding how similar changes have occurred in and affected monkeys may be key to resolving it.
However, existing investigations into genus Cercopithecus (the guenon monkeys) are either no longer relevant, because one of the guenons has been moved to a different genus, or very limited, despite this genus’ high relevance as a seemingly highly flexible taxon within our own parvorder, the Catarrhini. Studies have shown how general positional behaviour affects several areas such as intertuberosity angle, neck and epiphysis of the humerus and femur in this taxon, and the most recent studies metacarpals. There has, however, been little or no work on guenon foot structure, and very little on morphological variation between species in this group or other primate taxa.
The foot has been described as morphologically redundant. If that is the case then significant differences could be good indicators of relatedness, rather than function. Foot structure is also interesting as guenons are known to be conservative for both their cranial and post-cranial skeleton; they may represent something like our last common ancestor with other Catarrhine primates. Further study of guenon foot anatomy could thus help us unpick structure and function and reconstruct some of the early evolutionary history of primate locomotion, particularly with regards to variation within and between species and how this relates to locomotion. Such a study will be important in understanding the guenons as a whole and building a ecological, morphological and phylogenetic profile of the genus.