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Did we evolve to run barefoot or not?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, Aug 20, 2011.

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  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


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    Not wanting to get into any debate about the merits of evolution (a previous thread on evolution was closed as it got out of hand: Evolution)…. But:

    One of the underlying tenets of the trend to barefoot or minimalist running has been that we allegedly evolved to run barefoot and that shoes has been a recent invention and the use of the shoe is allegedly the claimed reason for a lot of the ill in society and running today (see my comments here on Liebermann’s presentation at ISB). Since hearing this presentation, I done a lot of reading on the concept of evolutionary medicine whose hypothesis is that we evolved in an environment that we are not now living in and that mismatch is the causes of a lot of the health problems. Its an interesting hypothesis.

    In the thread on Vibrams and stress fractures, reilleyshoe posted a link to the work of Erik Trinkaus who has a different view. He claims that:
    I was not familiar with his work:
    Anatomical evidence for the antiquity of human footwear:
    Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 35, Issue 7, July 2008, Pages 1928-1933
    Erik Trinkaus, Hong Shang
    Anatomical evidence for the antiquity of human footwear use
    Erik Trinkaus
    Journal of Archaeological Science Volume 32, Issue 10, October 2005, Pages 1515-1526

    Which is somewhat interesting as that hypothesis would tend to suggest that we need to be wearing shoes as those shoes have actually affected the evolution of the foot. This is the opposite of the claim that Liebermann is making.

    So it looks like we have two evolutionary hypotheses:
    1. We should go barefoot/minimalist as that is the environment we evolved in (Liebermann)
    2. We should not go barefoot/minimalist as the footwear worn influenced the evolution of the foot (Trinkaus)

    (Clarification: for (2) this is not the alleged changes that shoes make to weakening the foot and changing biomechanics; this is a hypothesis that the footwear actually influenced how the foot developed)

    What say you?
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. I'll need to pull out my genetics books, but lets say I wear a pair of shoe which rub my proximal IPJ of my second and cause a callus to occur here. I breed with someone who has had a similar problem with their shoes, are our off-spring born with a callus already on their second toes? That is, can acquired characteristics be transmitted?
  4. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    Based on a really interesting programme that was on Radio 4 recently(yes that's right, Radio 4 ), the answer is no. A good example given was that because children are so used to using gaming pads, they now ring doorbells with their thumbs. Without the same stimulation, will their children? No. The evolution is the mutation, not the acquired characteristic.

    In the case of shoe usage and less requirement for the lesser toes, it does seem like an acquired characteristic. Can't quite get my head around this one
  5. And that's my point. So there has to be an advantage in terms of breeding fitness being derived from the size of the piggies or a linkage between the size of the piggies and some other factor which provides a breeding advantage.
  6. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    Agreed, i can't really see the mutation/selective advantage link
  7. CamWhite

    CamWhite Active Member

    I find it very hard to believe that "sturdy" shoes were in widespread existence 26,000 to 40,000 years ago. What is the definition of "sturdy"? A firm heel counter, a shank, a solid leather sole?

    Or was the first widespread use of shoes soft leather moccasins stuffed with straw to insulate the foot from freezing temperatures?
  8. Depends, what if there was a genetic linkage between piggie length and sperm count/ mobility?
  9. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Is it just me or can other posters see how rediculous and pointless this argument is?
    We did not evolve to drive a motor car, or ride a horse for that matter, and both can injure. We did not evolve to use a mobile phone, a television, a hair dryer a toaster, a washing machine, a PS3 etc. We did not evolve to drink wine or single malt scotch. But all these things make our lives a little easier.
    We did NOT evolve to run barefoot.. we apparently evolved to chase game to eat. This neccesitated running at times, resting ar times, walking at times and eventually clubbing whatever it was we were chasing, with whatever was avaiable. Eventually we evolved to use an AK47.
    Now.. the relevant thing in this argment is that at no stage in antiquity did our distant forebears attempt to run all the way down 5th ave in NYC in a pair of VFF as I saw a man, in obvious discomfort, do yesterday. If one is a Kalahari Buchman chasing a Kudu for the dinner pot that evening, one is not chasing that beast down 5th ave. One is not running, or walking, or resting under a bush acacia, on even, flat, hard sufaces, never really changing direction, and imparting the same repetitive laod at every step for the duration of the run. Indeed, the whole concept of running for pleasure or fitness would be anathoma were we able to interview an early homo sapiens. This is a VERY modern concept, as recent as 30 years.. even the likes of Bill Rodgers and Frank SHorter did not run for pleasure.. they ran for the compition and to win. They were professional athletes. Back then, the general population, as now, could not run in the minimalist footwear they ran in because the general population were not genetically and physiologically gifted as these athletes were. Same applies now.. it is not for everyone, so not everyone should be doing it as The Church would have us believe.
    The Tarahumara, the Kalahari, early Homo did NOT, do not, run the way we do now.. there is little or no similarity in terms of surface, physiology ( not many obese cavemen back then) and style through neccesity.
    The whole point here is that modern athletic footwear does not protect from injury any more than modern horse or modern car does. A great many very good researcher have spend their lives, with no financial reward from athletic footwear companies studying the loading patterns that contribute, amongst other things, to running injury.
    What is clear beyond any scientific debate is that an athlete wearing a modern running shoe, may, or may not sustain a injury, just as someone running barefoot or in a minimalist shoe may, or may not get injured. The big difference though, is that according to the science, modern athletic footwear can and does attenuate at least some of the loading, acceleration and moment issues that have been established to contribute (amongst other things) to injury.
    So.. in the year 2011, the concept of if our forefathers evolved to run barefoot is a gigantic red herring that is simple irrelevant.
  10. reillyshoe

    reillyshoe Member

    I do not think Trinhaus work relates to evolution as much as to Wolff's Law. You have not inherited the bone structure as much as the force on your foot influences the development of the bones. If you spend a considerable amount of time in shoes, your structure is different than it would be if you were barefoot, as the mechanics are different. Different is not better or worse, it is simply different.
  11. Which is basically and absolutely: phenotype = genotype + environment + (genotype x environment) + measurement error.

    And all that Trinkaus could possibly observe was the phenotype. For evolution to occur, there has to be a change in the genotype.... or does there? How is evolution recorded? Via change in the phenotype- right?
  12. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Simon, I do not necessarily disagree with you, but why would Trinkaus try and argue that shoes influenced the evolution and therefore we evolved to wear shoes. I do not have access to the full papers linked above and just trying to understand the rationale of why he would present those arguments....and they passed the peer review process to get published.
  13. reillyshoe

    reillyshoe Member

    I am obviously not Simon, but after reading his work I called Trinhaus to discuss his views. He said this was not evolutionary, but restricted to individual development.
  14. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Which Simon? Can't Simon Spooner change his name to Frank or something?
  15. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Sorry Simon B, I meant Simon S .... give me a break, it was 5.30AM Sunday morning! .... either you are as mad as I am or you overseas in a different time zone.
  16. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

    Both my friend.. enjoy your Sunday.. just found an antique copy of "On the Origin of Species".. absolutely stoked.. have been looking for ages. I shall be an expert in evolution by this time tomorrow and will continue with this thread.
  17. Craig and Colleagues:

    I use the evidence from Erik Trinkaus' research in my lecture "Barefoot vs Shod Running: Which is Best?". The research from Trinkaus basically looked at the phalangeal construction of the lesser digits and he believed that their altered morphology are consistent with shoe use from about 40,000 years ago. I don't believe Trinkaus mentioned that the toes evolved but rather they had their morphology altered by chronic shoe use. I understand that some authorities have disagreed with his conclusions, but certainly he seems to be one of the leading authorities on this subject.

    I included Trinkaus' research in my lecture to emphasize the point that, if it is true, 20,000 generations of humans have been shoe-wearers and we seem to have adapted to their habitual use pretty well over thousands of years. I really don't know if Trinkaus' research is in direct contradiction to Liebermn's beliefs or not.

    By the way, the world’s oldest shoe was found in Fort Rock Cave in Oregon in 1938 and was made of woven sagebrush. This shoe was radiocarbon dated to 8,000 BC. I would imagine that since all shoes of this era and before were made of plant and/or animal materials, that we will need to use fossil evidence (i.e. Trinkaus' work) to try and determine how long humans have been wearing shoes.

    I have a hard time believing that the earliest homo sapiens did not have enough brain power to figure out that if they wrapped the hide from one of the animals around their feet that they could walk farther over more rough and cold terrain than they could if they were barefoot. In this regard, my guess is that shoes (i.e. moccasins or sandals) are closer to 100,000 years old, not 10,000 - 40,000 years old.

    Like Simon Bartold and Craig, I am quite frustrated by all the bizarre things that the barefooters make up to try and support their arguments. One of the things that makes me shake my head in disbelief are the female barefoot running advocates that wear 2" heeled pumps with pointed toes to give lectures on the benefits of barefoot running but seem to have no problem deforming their own foot for the rest of the day in shoes that do not resemble their own natural foot shape. :craig:
  18. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    The introduction of shoes could be the main reason why the plantaris muscle is now absent in 7-10% of the human population.
  19. How??
  20. toomoon

    toomoon Well-Known Member

  21. The introduction of Sicknote could be the main reason why illogical and lunatic postings are now present 7-10 times more than normal on Podiatry Arena.:butcher::craig::boxing:
  22. reillyshoe

    reillyshoe Member

    On one hand, I agree with your conclusion. On the other, I question how you arrived at you numbers (7-10 times more than normal)....
  23. Sicknote

    Sicknote Active Member

    Well one example was that the plantaris muscle was useful for grasping with the feet/toes. Being barefoot may instinctively have activated this muscle to a much higher degree. It may have resulted in better efficiency & faster walking speeds.

    As we evolved with the shoe, the "grasping" has been nullified massively, hence the plantaris absentee %.
  24. Present or absent = dichotomous variable which points to single gene effect. How do acquired characteristics get passed down? Simple, they don't.
  25. David Wedemeyer

    David Wedemeyer Well-Known Member

    Are you for real Sickie? Speaking of grasping, is there one iota of evidence or logic behind your most recent analytical miscarriage? Do us all a favor and hurl yourself from a moving vehicle traveling at high speed, don't worry your vacuous skull over boney parts because impacts don't matter to a barefooter (neither does science or that silly medicine thing) Right?

    Please let us know if you're a skull or an arse striker :empathy:
  26. User7

    User7 Active Member

    Trinkaus is saying that wearing shoes appears to result in the development of less robust middle and lesser toes, in individuals who wear them. What's another way to say less robust?

    Here's a section about Trinkaus from a pretty decent article (http://neuroanthropology.net/2009/07/26/lose-your-shoes-is-barefoot-better/):

    Otzi the Iceman, discovered in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991, was wearing shoes, but he was only 5000 years old. Even older remains suggest shoes had been around for a while: mummies in the Americas as old as 9000 years have shoes, footprints left by moccasins have been found in the Upper Paleolithic, cave paintings suggest footwear, and burials sometimes have beads on the feet and ankles that might have been sewn to leather shoes of some sort.

    Archaeologist Erik Trinkaus has written a number of articles on the evidence for footwear in prehistoric populations, arguing that, in order to survive the cold of glacial periods, hominins would have necessarily figured out how to create insulating protection of some sort: a kind of prehistoric Ugg boot. But more modern-style, mechanically supportive shoes would have been a later development, evident in the bones of the feet because a semi-rigid sole will alter the distribution of force on the foot (see Trinkaus 2005: 1516). When walking barefoot, the toes flex, making the bones on the outside of the foot stronger through remodelling (as mentioned in the previous section); Trinkaus hypothesized that a shift in the robusticity of bones in the hallux (big toe) relative to the smaller toes (or the outside of the foot) would be a possible sign of habitual hard-soled shoe wearing.

    Trinkaus compared bones from three different recent North American populations to test the hypothesis that shoes caused shifts in the relative strength of the toe bones (Pecos Pueblo Native American, Inuit, and Euro-Americans). Within these samples, predictions about the robustness of the phalanges in the feet based upon their shoe-wearing patterns turned out to be accurate; Pecos Pueblo Native Americans wearing soft-soled moccasins had the most robust lateral toes, Inuit in harder soled boots had more gracile bones, and Euro-Americans in hard-soled shoes had the most marked disparity. The more support offered by the footwear, the less robust the bones of the feet associated with the smaller toes (especially the pedal proximal phalanges in the middle of the foot).

    Trinkaus has used beam model analysis, a technique that scans cross sections of bones across their axis to get some idea of their density and configuration. These donut-like images gives some sense of the stresses placed upon the bones because they remodel to compensate for these stresses, get stronger, in general, to withstand habitual strains.

    A similar comparison might provide insight into the earliest rigid footwear because, as Trinkaus puts it, ‘relative robusticity of human lateral toes might provide insight into the frequency of use of footwear’ (2005: 1515). Because the organic materials likely used to make the first shoes would not endure in the archaeological record, Trinkaus’ method is as intriguing as it is ingenuous. In the archaeological remains Trinkaus examined, the evidence from the feet suggest that shoes became more and more prevalent from the Middle Paleolithic to the middle Upper Paleolithic; he suggests supportive footwear is likely around 30,000 years old in his earlier work (2005), but some of his later work with Shang (2008) may push that date back closer to 40,000 years.

    I’m not going to go into all of Trinkaus’ analysis here. Blogger Afarensis has a number of posts on the issue of prehistoric footwear including here, here and here. Please read Afarensis, especially What You Can Learn From Bones: When Did We Start Wearing Shoes? for a more complete discussion of Trinkaus’ work.

    By comparing the shoes to an ‘environment,’ I don’t mean to suggest that 40,000 years of being shod is a form of ‘unnatural selection’ that has shifted the genetic contributors to the anatomy of our feet. Rather, I just mean to suggest that, if shoes are affecting the anatomy of our feet, we have been transmitting certain kinds of crucial traits through the artificial environment that we’ve created. We place our children in little training shoes so that their feet are sculpted into a configuration that fits within, and virtually demands the support of shoes. So should we lose our shoes and go back to ‘natural’ feet, unwinding perhaps 40,000 years of non-genetic biophysical heredity?​

    The next section of that article introduces a term that could be useful for mounting emotional arguments against zealous barefoot runners. (Although I thought there was no barefoot running debate.)
  27. Phil Rees

    Phil Rees Active Member

    The problem faced by all Palaeontologists when extrapulating from the fossil record to the present day is that ... a fosill must have had ancestors ... but maybe no decendants.
  28. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    I say for 1 that the environment we "evolved in" is not the environment most of us in the West now live in (self-evident surely) and for 2 I say that the science behind this hypothesis is pretty shakey.

    Our feet are designed (or evolved as someone pointed out recently - I have no argument with either point of view) for ambulation and support on a mixture of surfaces, but not hard and flat surfaces for most of the time.

    My own unshod feet work perfectly well on soft and undulating ground, but are happier in shoes and boots when ambulating or standing on hard, flat surfaces for any great length of time. I suggest most of us find the same.

    On a different note, I found a 1901 copy of Grays Anatomy in Hay-on-Wye last week which I'm now kicking myself for not buying. I don't have a copy of GA, although I'm reasonably familiar with the text concerning the foot.
    The publishers have always had a public policy of not altering anything in Grays Anatomy unless it could be scientifically proven to need correction, so sure were/are they that the original work was correct. Here's what I find interesting - of course I fully accept that others may not.
    Gray wrote his first edition around the time that Darwin was propounding his theory of evolution. I believe Gray was a creationist, as were most of the scientific community of the day in the 1850's, and of course there was a great deal of opposition to the notion of evolution when it was first introduced, in particular the possibility of humans evolving from apes.
    Could this have influenced Gray's description of the anatomy and physiology of the foot?

    The design of all those plaster/plastic models of a "normal" foot (with a vertical heel, nice 90 degree sagittal plane ankle angle, and horizontal forefoot and rearfoot) had to come from somewhere...............
  29. W J Liggins

    W J Liggins Well-Known Member

    Hi David

    I have a 23rd Edn. (1926) inherited from my father who inherited it from my grandfather. There is a question mark written by my father against "The....... transverse head (of adductor hallucis) approximates the toes and thus increases the curve of the transverse arch of the metatarsus."
    So even the great man could get it wrong - but then, he was dealing with the actions of muscles on a cadaverous specimen and not a weight bearing individual.

  30. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Hi Bill,

    For what it's worth, I think your father was right to question the validity of that particular conclusion.

    This is almost certainly where the "transverse arch" theory originated, and how many GP's still believe that there is a transverse arch?
    Orthopods too, come to that:rolleyes:.

    My "normal" anatomical foot model has a nice transverse arch, as well as all the other features which I've never seen in 40 years of practice - like a lateral longitudinal arch.
  31. Sorry to be a pain.

    Distal and proximal are 2 very important words in the discussion of transverse arches.

    Re your question David and the distal transverse metatarsal arch - Drs, Ortho´s, P&O´s - I will not go on about it as most will be sick of me getting upset about it but I would say the majority still think there is a distal transverse metatarsal arch. :bang::mad: imo
  32. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Hi Mike,

    They think there are those arches because they have been taught from the same book. Or the books they were taught from used Grays Anatomy for reference without questioning the findings.

    Here's a question for you.
    Did Gray deliberately fudge his results/findings in 1856/7 in order to emphasise the difference between Homo Sapiens and the great apes?
    Where did the "normal" foot and ankle model which we all know and love actually come from?

    Because it's just so wrong (with all it's arches, 90 degree ankle angle, and vertical heel that I can't believe it happened by accident.

    It may be a little bit of research to keep me busy after our trout season finishes here in Wales.
  33. User7

    User7 Active Member

    It was pointed out above by Spooner, but Trinkaus is talking about biological development, not evolution. Two very different things.

    Trinkaus, in fact, is not saying that shoe wearing led to evolution of the foot. Rather, he's saying that the lesser toe bones of European peoples that died around 20-40 thousand years ago appear less robust, or more gracile than those that came before that period.

    He then makes an assumption: These gracile lesser toes could develop as a result of a childhood spent wearing shoes. No shoes: robust lesser toes. Shoes: gracile (read: weak) lesser toes.

    From this assumption he hypothesizes that people started wearing shoes in Europe around 20-40 thousand years ago.

    The assumption he makes is, in fact, consistent with claima that wearing shoes weakens the foot. Far from advancing a hypothesis that shoe wearing led to an evolution toward feet better suited to wearing shoes, he's saying that shoe wearing resulted in people who developed with weak phalanges. They would not pass this development on because developed traits are not genetic traits.

    So now we have a quandary: If one uses Trinkaus to argue that we've been wearing shoes for a long time (40K years, max) and therefore could have evolved to function as well or better wearing shoes than barefoot, then one also has to accept his assumption that wearing shoes weakens the phalanges permanently during development (growth to maturity).
  34. Anonymous User:

    I don't know any intelligent podiatrist who would consider a change in morphology of the 4th and 5th digits to mean the individual had "weaker feet". How does the shape of the 4th and 5th digits indicate a change in strength of any of the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of the foot?
  35. Kevin, to be fair anonymous user didn't make comment regarding intrinsic muscle strength, rather the anonymous user was commenting on the size of the phalanges. Does smaller 4th and 5th phalanges= weaker feet?
  36. Not in my book. This only means the 4th and 5th phalanges are smaller, not that the foot is "weak".
  37. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Hi all, this is an interesting topic as it delves into many areas - of which the areas themselves have many potential offshoots i.e. origin of humans, anatomy/comparative anatomy, biomechanics/physiology, running, footwear, anthropology/archaeology etc...

    I know what you mean Craig, however how can one avoid it if the underlying premise of your question appears to be that involving evolution... "Did we evolve to run barefoot or not?"... "evolve" being the key word here. Some here already know my perspective in relation to the microbes to man type evolution... thus I naturally will question the reliability of a shaky premise involving a question about a topic I have interest in (i.e. running) - from a Podiatrist perspective & that of a keen runner (from a young age which is now close to 30 years - starting off as a middle distance runner & now a marathoner). Two attributes of which are supported in my website (just in case some question the relevance/sincerity of my involvement... & I also touch on the "origin" issue somewhere on the site).

    So as to 'clear' the air a bit, the use of the word "evolution" in everyday language has resulted in some confusion. Technically, evolution is generally defined as a gradual biological process involving natural selection that results in the gradual change of an animal or plant population into a population of more complex forms. There are at least four popular uses of the related terms "evolution", "evolved" or "evolve":
    1. Evolution is often used to mean "develop".
    2. Evolution used to describe the biological process of speciation.
    3. Evolution meaning "origin of life".
    4. Evolution meaning "origin of space, time & matter".

    I personally have no issues of the above first two definitions of the terms, yet with the last two I do (I have discussed why in the past but if any want me to elaborate further on the above I will). I've known it best not to speculate on one's intentions on a writing medium such as this, hence I'll leave it up to the individual to testify which definitions they ascribe to when discussing this topic... albeit, some responses appear fairly obvious whilst some a bit ambiguous at first glance (i.e. Trinkaus’s results).

    Now Craig, that isn't a fair analysis of the situation - I think possibly both camps involved would at least agree on that. The above thread was simply closed because the discussion was going nowhere - not because it... "got out of hand". I mean, the above link you added is there for all to see & will testify to the fact that members of the evolution camp were stuck in a state of fallacy of irrelevance... Reductio ad Hitlerum & Ignoratio elenchi... or was it Confirmation bias. Take your pick... however, I supplied answers & asked questions - & these were rarely effectively addressed (particularly from one individual who should know better going by his anthropological qualifications). The thread was eventually closed as a result of some getting tied up in a historical figure which they themselves (himself) brought into the discussion (as a straw man argument - a tactic regularly used by evolutionists to deflect scrutiny from the real issues)... after repeated requests from myself to leave the issue alone & move onwards via sticking to the issues pertaining to the crux of the topic - evolution.


    ***Hence... "Did we evolve to run barefoot or not?" Well that now depends on one's definition of the term "evolve"... based on the above 4 stated definitions. I personally feel the question has very little relevance to the issue of running/barefoot running... despite what definition you ascribe to, for example:

    - The first two definitions (which I have no issue with) relating to "develop" & "speciation": The foot may acquire (develop) changes if the individual embarks on a barefoot running program within the lifetime of the individual (i.e. forefoot widening??) - these changes of the male or female barefoot runner will not be carried over to the offspring (even if male & female barefoot runners got together). Of course studies need to be done in this area (which there have/are not) & the subsequent generations of offspring would also need to be avid barefoot runners for any possible barefoot related changes (i.e. to the phenotype) to take hold - BUT - the foot will always be that of a human foot... the changes will always fit within the parameters of the intended realm (or phenotype) of the human genome (genotype). It is worth noting here that the genome is endowed with a marvellous capacity to produce variation (particularly in animals), & all of these are governed by very complex mechanisms. Moreover, mechanisms that induce variation at the level of the genotype are not subject to natural selection, as natural selection only operates at the level of the phenotype. The process of natural selection does not 'create' (or evolve into) anything - it just selects what was already there (within the genome/genotype).

    It would seem Erik Trinkaus’s results/views (putting aside his human evolution/paleoanthropologist background) in relation to bone morphology fits into the above stated first two definitions of "evolution" (if one must use the phrase in this setting) – it does not support the microbes to man conjecture of evolution within definitions 3 & 4. However, "sturdy" or "rugged" shoes were certainly not around as long as he has claimed – they are a fairly recent addition to the wardrobe. As subjective "sturdy"/ "rugged" may be, I think most would agree that footwear certainly before the industrial revolution & before fashion took hold were pretty simple minimalist type footwear... with many not even wearing shoes, or depending on the climate, a sandal or moccasin type attire was all there was in many areas of the world.

    - As far as "evolution" definitions 3 & 4 (origin of life, matter, space & time) in relation to the above question: There is no definitive scientific evidence what so ever, yet we have these definitions bestowed as scientific fact. This is the camp Lieberman stumbles his way through in a probable quest for notoriety/fame. I have discussed Lieberman’s position before on this forum (i.e. the “Barefoot Running Debate” thread - starting here). I could delve further in critiquing his running/barefoot evolution views as forwarded by Craig Payne here – particularly on the anthropological side of it, which is the crux of his vague reasoning (after all, he is an evolutionary biologist delving into the historical assumptions of human ancestry, running & subsequent biomechanics).

    However, due to some not liking long posts, I'll leave it at that for now. I wanted to at least put another perspective as to the introduction of the initial post. I would like to discuss this topic further as I have a sincere interest in the areas it touches on. Despite my Creation position, my input should not invoke any religious discussion at all as we just need to only focus on the observed science/evidence we see/have before us as being of primary importance for this practical running related thread. However, being that the underlying premise of the question pertains to evolution (with subsequent posts ascribing/referencing it) which does not fall into the area of "observed science", this should at least be critiqued in relation to the subject matter i.e. presupposed human ancestry, quadpedalism -> bipedalism etc...

    Anyhow, in relation to barefooting... maybe Paul was onto something way back in 1969...

  38. User7

    User7 Active Member

    Simon and Kevin,

    Are the phalanges part of the foot?

    But I'm really wondering: How and why would the phalanges develop to be less robust (if you don't like "weak" as a synonym, how about "weaker"?) as a result of growing up wearing footwear?

    And we're talking primitive footwear here, not oxfords and bluchers.
  39. User7

    User7 Active Member

    Etc., etc.

    The intended subject of the original post was clearly biological evolution.
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