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Foot Pathology in the Olduvai Hominin 8 Foot

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by NewsBot, Feb 7, 2012.

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  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

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    Olduvai Hominin 8 foot pathology: A comparative study attempting a differential diagnosis.
    Weiss E.
    Homo. 2012 Feb 1
     
  2. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  3. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

    Olduvai Hominid 8

    Olduvai Hominid number 8 (OH 8) is a fossilized foot of an early hominin found in Olduvai Gorge by Louis Leakey in the early 1960s.[1] Subsequent analysis has provoked much thought. Recent analysis (Kidd, O'Higgins & Oxnard, JHE, 1996) has demonstrated quite clearly that the fossil assemblage exhibits both ape and human characteristics.[2] Essentially, the lateral side (i.e. the outside of the foot) contains human-like characteristics while the medial side (i.e. the side towards the midline) contains ape-like features proximally, and human-like features distally. Specifically, the cuboid (laterally) is human-like, the talus and navicular (medially) are ape-like, and the medial cuneiform (medially), is human-like. This may be looked upon as a missing link in terms of mid-tarsal joint function. Later fossil finds, as exemplified by the so-called "Little Foot" (Stw573), do not contradict this - they in fact complement this finding (Kidd & Oxnard 2004).[3]

    Stw573 is a medial column assemblage, consisting of a talus, navicular, medial cuneiform and a first metatersal stub. The three hindfood bones present a pattern consistent with those of the OH 8 assemblage. Thus the hypothesis of a divergent first ray in the OH 8 assemblage, proposed in Kidd et al. (1996), is now refuted, and neither fossil assemblage are thought to have this characteristic.

    Further work by Zipfel and Kidd (2006)[4] and Zipfel, DeSilva and Kidd, 2009)[5] complement these findings. Moreover, they collectively lead to an intregrative model of pedal evolution of caudo-cranial, disto-proximal changes.

    Yet further findings (Zipfel et al., 2011),[6] with regard to the recently found skeletal remains of Australopithecus sediba, reinforce the earlier findings. Further they demonstrate that the disto-proximal issues of the medial column, may also present in the lateral column. Combined, these findings refute the "Hypothetical Prehuman Foot", as predicted by Morton in 1935. Specifically, Morton predicted an "atavistic" divergent first ray, and a very substantially developed calcaneus as being present in the first bipeds; neither of these features are supported by current findings.

    1. ^ M. H. Day & B. A. Wood (1968). "Functional Affinities of the Olduvai Hominid 8 Talus". Man, New Series, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Sep., 1968), pp. 440-455. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 3 (3): 440–455. doi:10.2307/2798879. JSTOR 2798879.
    2. ^ Kidd RS, O'Higgins P & Oxnard CE (1996). "The OH8 foot: A reappraisal of the functional morphology of the hindfoot utilising a multivariate analysis". Journal of Human Evolution. 31 (3): 269–292. doi:10.1006/jhev.1996.0061.
    3. ^ Kidd R.S and Oxnard C.E. 2005. Little Foot and Big Thoughts – a Re-evaluation of the Stw573 Foot from Sterkfontein, South Africa. Journal of Comparative Human Biology 55:3 189-212
    4. ^ Bernhard Zipfel & Robert S. Kidd. Size and shape of a human foot bone from Klasies River main site, South Africa. Palaeont. afr. (April 2008) 43: 51–56
    5. ^ Bernhard Zipfel, Jeremy M. DeSilva and Robert S. Kidd. Earliest Complete Hominin Fifth Metatarsal—Implications for the Evolution of the Lateral Column of the Foot. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140:532–545 (2009)
    6. ^ Bernhard Zipfel, Jeremy M. DeSilva, Robert S. Kidd, Kristian J. Carlson, Steven E. Churchill, Lee R. Berger. The Foot and Ankle of Australopithecus sediba. Science Vol 333 9 September 2011
     
  4. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

    The OH8 foot: A reappraisal of the functional morphology of the hindfoot utilising a multivariate analysis
    Kidd RS, O'Higgins P and Oxnard CE
    Journal of Human Evolution 31 (3): 269–292. 1996
     
  5. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I am away from home just now on a two week boating and fishing trip; thus my bone and cast collection is not to hand. The Olduvai foot has attracted interest since it was found in about 1960 by Louis Leakey. Originally it was the talus that caused more heat than light as it did not conform to what was perceived to be the "prehuman foot" of the day. Later, in the early 90's, I wrote much about the four hindfoot bones and noted that lateral-medial (embryologicaly that is caudo-cranial) division in its modernity. Later, in perhaps 2001/2 we looked at another assemblage, StW573, from Sterkfontein in South Africa, and noted a disto-proximal shift in modernity - and then went back to oh8 and noted the same. Thus we now had changed in line with body planes that were coincident with specific genetic or other growth factors; HOX genes for the disto-proximal shift, and Sonic Hedgehog stuff fort he caudo-cranial.
     
  6. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I am away from home just now on a two week boating and fishing trip; thus my bone and cast collection is not to hand. The Olduvai foot has attracted interest since it was found in about 1960 by Louis Leakey. Originally it was the talus that caused more heat than light as it did not conform to what was perceived to be the "prehuman foot" of the day. Later, in the early 90's, I wrote much about the four hindfoot bones and noted that lateral-medial (embryologicaly that is caudo-cranial) division in its modernity. Later, in perhaps 2001/2 we looked at another assemblage, StW573, from Sterkfontein in South Africa, and noted a disto-proximal shift in modernity - and then went back to oh8 and noted the same. Thus we now had changes in line with body planes that were coincident with specific genetic or other growth factors; HOX genes for the disto-proximal shift, and Sonic Hedgehog stuff for the caudo-cranial. But we never looked at the met heads. To be honest I am not sure that this sort of insight - osteophytic lippping - may be gained from casts, even those of quality like the WennerGren ones that we have for study. I am now semi-retired, and becoming out of date; I do not know of Liz Weiss' work personally, so looked her up. She is on the academic staff of San Jose State, and has published in VERY eminent journals such as The American Journal of Physical Anthropology. It may be worth making a brief statement about journal heiarchy; while all peer reviewed (internationally referreed) journals leave the rest for dead, there is a cline inside these; AJPA is way ahead of many, including JAPMA, for instance. Thus her work is to be highly respected. Indeed I note that some of her latest is with Bernie Zipfel, a friend, colleague and ex PhD student of ours. Bernie is an ex-podiatrist (Head of School) who like me, made the transistion to anthropology. He has access to the real thing in East Africa, and thus they may be able to see osteophytic lipping on the real thing. I will examine my casts when I get home and get back to you all. Rob
     
  7. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    The 0H 8 casts at Durham were not great quality, I would have said 2nd or 3rd generation casts of casts, and I wouldn't want to be making any stabs in the dark about osteophytic lipping from those.

    You probably saw these at Durham Rob. Are yours the same?
     
  8. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    I was a Salford grad - the only time I was at Durham was as final year examiner in 1990. Luckily, my casts are original ones from the Wenner Gren Foundation - they don't come any better - but are still not substitute for the real thing. Dr Zipfel - Bernie to us - is the curator of fossils at The University of Witwatersrand and his position opens doors around the world's museums; he had access to the real thing in Tanzania. I note on Liz Weils's CV that her last publication is on OH8 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and is due out shortly. It is jointly authored by her, Jerry DeZilva (another colleague of ours) and Bernie.
     
  9. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Hi all, back from my sojourn, time for some work. I have dragged out my casts of oh8, and looked at them again - perhaps for the first time in nearly a decade. To remind all that are interested, this is the most complete foot of its age - about 1.7 MA - but is incomplete in that there are no digits, or met heads. Neither is there a calcaneal tuber. Much play has been made over the years about the possibility of it being juvenile; the main evidence cited for this being the nature of the "broken ends" of mets 2 & 3 - some describe these as being the distal extreme of the diaphysis - ie the metaphysis. Quite how this fits with the simple fact that the epiphysis at the base of the first met is entirely closed is not explained (one may make the assumption with clarity that epiphyseal position, but not perhaps the time of closure, is the same in extinct hominins as it is in extant hominoids, including H sapiens). The base of the first met has a rather large "pseudo-joint" between itself and the second met base; this is often cited as evidence for a non-divergent first ray. However, it could be interpteted as having osteophystic lipping. I can see no evidence on bases 2-4. Base 5 has a large plantar extrusion - that I suspect is a casting artifact. I reiterate that Liz Weils may well have access to the real thing in East Africa. Casts of good quality (Wenner Gren casts like mine are Rolls Royce) are considered adequate for determination of interlandmark distances etc. for use in complex multivariate analyses; however their use in this sort of analysis is new to me. As for its reclassifiaction as Bosei - well, who knows? What is for sure is that "Homo habilis" is at best a conglomerate of several species. We would all do well to remember that many hominids were sprouting and failing, at least in part due to intense selective pressures during the decreasing rains of the plio-pleistocene. Rob
     
  10. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Thanks for that additional info Rob.

    The cast I examined was not at Durham School of Pod, but at Durham Uni anthropology dept. It's entirely possible that they had a better one somewhere, but this was the one that kicked around the lab - not a great cast, as I've already said.
    Prof Bilsborough suggested I take a trip to the British Museum to check out their casts, but other things intervened (and in any case anthropology was a sideline to my research topic).

    A truly fascinating topic.
     
  11. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
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    Earliest modern human-like hand bone from a new >1.84-million-year-old site at Olduvai in Tanzania
    Manuel Dom?nguez-Rodrigo Travis Rayne Pickering Sergio Alm?cija Jason L. Heaton Enrique Baquedano Audax Mabulla David Uribelarrea
    Nature Communications 6, Article number: 7987
     
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    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Articles:
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    Inter-ray variation in metatarsal strength properties in humans and African apes: Implications for inferring bipedal biomechanics in the Olduvai Hominid 8 foot.
    Patel BA et al
    J Hum Evol. 2018 May 12.
     
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