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My race of arboreal humanoids has limb proportions very similar to those of a human apart from their slightly lengthened arms. They are already quite strong, and I'm hoping to add to their flexibility.

Felines have floating clavicles that not only make it possible for them to reach farther, but also to turn their upper bodies in midair. I doubt that this would be very useful to a humanoid for squeezing through tight spaces because of its wide hips(please correct me if I'm wrong).

I am most curious about the humanoids' ability to turn like a cat in midair and either land or catch themselves. Would the floating clavicle be of any use to arboreal humanoids? Would it lower their strength or inhibit anything? Would even it be worth evolving?

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  • $\begingroup$ What kinds of shoulders do monkeys and the other great apes have? $\endgroup$ – RonJohn May 17 '18 at 3:22
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Cats are pretty strong with the floating clavicle, so It shouldn't hurt their strength. The clavicle itself would be a vestige, but it would also make the shoulders appear more like regular human shoulders. For example, Josh Carter was born without collarbones and he is able to accomplish many feats of flexibility with his arms. Perhaps a longer spine would help even more with full body rotation in mid air, but rotation would for sure be possible with a floating clavicle. As for use, I think it would certainly be useful in climbing or landing, as the ability to turn the upper body would help reach for handholds at the last minute or protect the face during a fall. Perhaps a flexible spine could let them rotate without turning their lower bodies too, but of course that's defeating the purpose a bit. It would be pretty cool to see someone rotate like a cat in the air.

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If you don't mind shortening your humanoids' lifespans by a little bit, hypermobile joints can be caused by several connective tissue disorders extant in humans today, that could hypothetically be selected for in arboreal environments; I'm thinking mild variants of Marfan Syndrome. It may be a valid workaround that lets you keep your humanoids' clavicles attached and their biology a little less speculative. Hope this helps!

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    $\begingroup$ Worth noting that hyper mobility does come with its own set of downfalls though: you don’t want Homo Arboriensis to drop from a tree because it’s shoulder joint just spontaneously dislocated. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 16 '18 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs This is true! However, you don't need to be that hypermobile to make such a difference in flexibility. I'm mildly hypermobile and it's helped me become a relatively successful violin student! And I've actually never dislocated anything. $\endgroup$ – Rúnatál Davino Feb 16 '18 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ I like where this goes, but would this help with agility and the ability to rotate the upper body (like a falling cat)? I was thinking of something that wouldn't potentially cause heart problems, but I do like the idea of full body flexibility. $\endgroup$ – Cas Feb 16 '18 at 17:57
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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't hyper mobility make it more difficult for arboreal species to climb? In some cases, it has hurt people's ability to hold objects such as pencils or pens. Muscle weakness can occur as well. It also doesn't seem that Marfan syndrome would make allow someone to catch themselves after falling from a tree that well, as they still wouldn't be able to turn their bodies all the way around. $\endgroup$ – Roki Feb 17 '18 at 16:13
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There are free floating clavicals and free floating shoulders, cheetahs have free floating clavical and shoulders, and they have weak shoulders, easy to pull out of socket, dislocate such.

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