Early human walking is studied

Feb 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: Local education politics 'far from dead'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

3 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

3 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

3 hours ago

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

5 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

5 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 0