Inner Ear Canal Morphology

Certainty Style Key

Certainty styling is being phased out topic by topic.

Hover over keys for definitions:
True   Likely   Speculative
Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Likely Difference
MOCA Topic Authors: 

The semicircular canal system of the inner ear helps coordinate body movements, in particular by stabilization of gaze during locomotion. In mammals, the size of the semicircular canals varies interspecifically with body mass. However species with fast and jerky locomotion have relatively larger canals. Within hominoids, and taking into account body mass, modern humans contrast with apes by displaying enlarged anterior and posterior canals and a somewhat reduced lateral canal. This is interpreted by some as resulting from the establishment of the extant form of bibedalism. Similar conditions are met in Homo erectus, but Australopithecus still display primitive conditions.The functionally important planar orientations of the semicircular canals is identical in humans and in apes.

Related MOCA Topics
Referenced By:
Topic Certainty
Size of Sensory Thalamic Nuclei Speculative


  1. Reconstructing the Neanderthal Eustachian Tube: New Insights on Disease Susceptibility, Fitness Cost, and Extinction, Pagano, Anthony Santino, Márquez Samuel, and Laitman Jeffrey T. , The Anatomical Record, 2019/08/31, (2019)
  2. The primate semicircular canal system and locomotion., Spoor, F., Garland T., Krovitz G., Ryan T. M., Silcox M. T., and Walker A. , Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 06/2007, Volume 104, Issue 26, p.10808-12, (2007)
  3. Evidence for a link between human semicircular canal size and bipedal behaviour, Spoor, F., Wood B., and Zonneveld F. , 02/1996, Volume 30, Issue 2, p.183 - 187, (1996)