Early human walking is studied

February 16, 2006

Arizona State University scientists studying fossilized anklebones have concluded our early ancestors walked with a rather unsteady gait.

Arizona anthropologist Gary Schwartz, along with fellow anthropologist Dan Gebo of Northern Illinois University-DeKalb, found subtle anatomical differences in the bones as compared with modern anklebones.

Schwartz and Gebo compared anklebones from a variety of early human ancestors and compared them with samples taken from modern humans, chimpanzees and gorillas. The research led them to two significant conclusions:

-- Certain ancestral anklebones thought by some to be "half ape, half human" were found to be much more similar to human bones, confirming the specimens were from obligate bipeds who most likely walked on two feet in a manner similar to how we walk today.

-- Structural differences in some of the anklebones indicate they would have walked a little differently than do modern humans, specifically, an ancestral species commonly referred to as robust australopithecines appear to have been knock-kneed.

Schwartz and Gebo's findings contradict the common wisdom that bipedalism was a rather stable, unwavering trait once it evolved in human ancestors.

The study will be detailed in the April edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Early human ancestors had a wobble in their walk

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Amazon deforestation leaps 16 percent in 2015

November 28, 2015

Illegal logging and clearing of Brazil's Amazon rainforest increased 16 percent in the last year, the government said, in a setback to the aim of stopping destruction of the world's greatest forest by 2030.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.