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Fossil Indicates Lucy May Have Been The First Walker

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by NewsBot, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    NPR are reporting
    Fossil Indicates Lucy May Have Been The First Walker
    Full story
  2. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Complete Fourth Metatarsal and Arches in the Foot of Australopithecus afarensis
    Carol V. Ward, William H. Kimbel, and Donald C. Johanson
    Science 11 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6018 pp. 750-753
  3. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Interesting - nothing more.
    I particularly like this quote "This foot bone, the fourth metatarsal, connects the heel to the fourth toe".

    At least they aren't calling it a Hobbit metatarsal:eek:.


    Thanks for posting.
  4. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    That's strange... I thought Adam was! ;) Ooops... mustn't go there. I'll leave it at that.
  5. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    From Science News:
    Out on a limb; Fossils suggest early bipedal hominids still climbed
    Full story
  6. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    The only part of the AL288 (Lucy) foot that I have worked on is the talus - and its not human like. In fact, with the exception of the OH8 (Olduvai) talus, all the Australopithecus talis are remarkably similar. In multivariate space they plot a little closer to African apes than humans, and have a Mahalanobis D squared distance (of phenetic similarity) from Chimps of about 13-15 and from humans of about 28-31. Thus, whatever the article says, this foot is not, I repeat not entirely human like. IMHO, Australopithecus as a whole is adaped for above branch plantigrady - essentially a pre-adaption for bipedalism.

    As for why OH8 is different - well you have better watch this space.................

  7. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Hi Rob,

    Please don't tell me OH8 has been finally identified as a hobbit...........:D
  8. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    Oddly, Dave, the hobbit antagonist - the cretin progenitor, is my academic mentor. Professor Charles Oxnard has done many unwelcome things in his life. Very many years ago, he published stuff on the Australopithecus, suggesting that they were not in our line. Creationists have plucked on this for years. However, just because he is my mentor, doesn't make him right. I leave you to look at the evidence and make your own mind up. What he did teach me, above all else, was that if it needs saying, it needs saying - in spite of how unpopular the message may be. I stand by that that after all these years of hate mail that at various times I have received. Charles is now 80, and a bloody good bloke; I share dinner with him every year.
  9. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Yes, that certainly is a controversial view on human ancestry - for many reasons; one of which is the way the first paragraph is worded, which I'm sure those who have specific interest in the topic (i.e. of evolutionary persuasion) may see as a wee bit facetious (which doesn't help matters on a topic of such already present controversy).

    Yes, new evidence has suggested that the varieties of historical primates in question here did spend most of their time arboreal. However, NO clear cut evidence have revealed that... "it mainly walked upright on the ground".

    The finds of late (will cite one later) certainly do challenge the speculated assumptions of evolutionary spin i.e. ... "more humanlike species replacing more primitive brutes". The more we carefully delve into this topic (i.e. with honest appraisal, leaving biased presumptions aside) & the more time/years that transpire, the more evidence we find that reveal contrary data to the upheld assumptions of evolutionary human ancestry. I personally find this a rather odd phenomenon because if this upheld evolutionary ancestry was to be true... then we would assuredly expect the opposite traits to be the case i.e. as more time transpires, the more evidence one would suspect would accumulate to substantiate what should be a clear case for such an upheld position... after at least 100 - 150 years of intent investigation. Instead, what we do have (as the article states) is what can be described as a... "tangled bush of motley species" (& artefacts)... representing our supposed origins (which I find a rather important topic - for many reasons).

    Thanks Rob for your views (& I do appreciate them). From what I have read (which includes your notes & that of Prof. Oxnard) I have come up with the same conclusions - albeit, I appreciate you have more direct involvement in this topic/research.

    Yet, I (respectfully) don't agree with the following...
    Without going into detail (of which you probably understand why based on the past) I'm sure we can have an amicable discussion from time to time (& when time permits) on such issues... whilst coming from different perspectives (as difficult that may seem at times).

    I resonate with the above Rob. It is unfortunate that you have received "hate mail" for expressing your (for what I take it as) sincere fair dinkum views (why? I wonder). You have written about Prof. Oxnard (am I correct to still refer to him as Professor?) a few times now which has alluded to his character... & I have to agree, he does sound like a... "bloody good bloke".

    Anyway, here is that recent research on Australopithecus afarensis scapulae which the former cited article was no doubt referring to...

    Science 26 October 2012:
    Vol. 338 no. 6106 pp. 514-517
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1227123

    David J. Green, Zeresenay Alemseged.​

    I think it is (at the very least) fair to say that if these australopithecines did decide to stand upright & walk bipedal (as we sometimes see chimpanzees do), they would certainly not walk like humans (let alone run... Prof. Lieberman). Latest research such as the above clearly shows that these historical primates were well adapted to the trees... with unique bone structures (morphology) not found in humans.

    Anyway, in case time doesn't permit - Merry Christmas Rob & to all :santa:.
  10. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  11. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Tree climbing and human evolution.
    Venkataraman VV, Kraft TS, Dominy NJ.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Dec 31
  12. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Putting aside the evolutionary spin (speculation) in the above video (post# 10) - the content is pretty obvious i.e. soft tissue adaptation (I.e. lengthening T/Surae group/Achilles) when vertical tree climbing. Being on holidays I have been doing a fair bit of surfing (with my new mini-mal board) & I can assure you that my long distance running upper body (i.e. deltoids/trapezius) is feeling the effects/changes from the frequent paddling & lifting up on the board that is required. I also still like climbing trees (still at my age - not a kid anymore - just because I like to... & because I can).

    Thankfully the ladies in high heels don't live in the wild where they may be required to climb trees for safety reasons... then I suppose in this day in age sexuality & femininity are more important than safety/survival in our self-changed environments. ;)

    Maybe, just maybe... the above views could be another bit of added reasoning/evidence to bring the heel to forefoot pitch/differential closer to 0mm for foot attire (just a thought)... for 2013.

    There are certainly what I would consider major structural differences with the chimpanzee foot & the human foot (as per analogy in above video). The longitudinal/medial arch is an obvious one which I would thought be a major influential factor between arboreality & terrestriality lifestyles. In relation to this - what wasn't mentioned in the above video was the flexion of the transverse tarsal joint ("midfoot break") in the chimp foot - which will also affect its ability to climb trees more efficiently (i.e. vertically)... as well as offload some of the involvement required of the ankle joint (as in the case with the human foot in the same vertical tree climbing scenario).

    Interestingly, there was no mention of the Australopithecus afarensis foot in the last two posts.
  13. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Lets ask a different question - what is the purpose of a higher heel to forefoot pitch in the first place? I can understand no need for it when walking BAREFOOT on soft surfaces like sand or dirt or grass or savannah or swamp - but I am yet to hear a "rational explanation" (not outlandish theory) for 0 degree pitch elevation at the rearfoot in the shod populous on hard surfaces.....
  14. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting question Paul - & one that has been discussed at great length (& with some passion) in another thread – here: Rearfoot vs. Midfoot vs. Forefoot Striking Running: Which is Best?. Don't have time to go through the thread now but from memory there was at least 3 views put forward as to the inclusion of a 10 - 12mm heel - forefoot pitch added to running shoes (sometime in the late 70's I think). I stated it was due to some antiquated research stating that most people have an ankle equinus - thus the development of the pitch to accommodate this preventable condition (I also stated why not get people to stretch out their T/Surae group instead of adding a crutch of sorts via foot attire).

    Well the foot was designed to function in a plantigrade fashion (lets go by the anatomy for starters). I am open to other views.

    I know we have the harder surfaces to compete against these days hence the inclusion of cushioning to foot attire (which is needed) - but the pitch??? I am yet to hear a "rational explanation" for the 10 - 12mm pitch actually. I am open (& very interested) to hear other views on this as well.

    With this in mind we wouldn’t want to divert attention from the crux of this thread however (maybe the above cited thread could be brought back to life for further discussion on this specific area).
  15. Rob Kidd

    Rob Kidd Well-Known Member

    If someone would explain what exactly is meant by "higher heel to forefoot pitch", I might enter this debate, but not to debate creation. Rob
  16. Lets do a quick model of this using a rigid body assumption for the foot + shoe. Lets say the length of the foot is 20cm long (horizontal distance) from the back of the heel to the big toe joint (we'll ignore the toes), lets call this length the "adjacent"; lets say we wear a wedged shoe with 1cm heel height differential between the back of the heel and the big toe joint of the foot, lets call this 1cm height differential the "adjacent". If I'm walking up an incline, what number of degrees of incline would be required to negate the effect of the 1cm heel height differential? Basic trigonometry: Tan angle = opposite / adjacent = tan 0.05 = >3 degrees = a pretty small incline. Obviously the longer the foot, the smaller the incline needed to negate the effect of the heel height differential and obviously walking down the incline would magnify the effect. Just how flat and level is the world we inhabit? If I get time tomorrow, I'll take a few surface angle measures during my walk to work. Here's my view, the normal variation in the surface angulations that we ambulate upon during activities of daily living is likely to overcome the effects which shoes that have a 1cm heel height differential have on the calf muscle length/ tension relationships due to any accommodative shortening that might occur with a 1cm heel height differential, however, when you get into the realms of 4"+ heels, which also shorten the "adjacent" foot length or habitual vertical climbing...
  17. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    I think you may have worded the above incorrectly Rob, as I am sure you would know what a “higher heel to forefoot pitch” is. In case my terminology was a bit confusing in the context of this thread - it was in reference to footwear/foot attire i.e. it is where the midsole of the shoe is higher at the heel than the forefoot, thus elevating the heel higher (in relation to the traditional running shoe this could be a difference of 12mm). With that said, it is the origin & reasoning (as well as influencing repercussions thereof) I am interested in as per my above post at #14.

    Well I didn't think this was a debate (as yet), particularly on this thread. The "higher heel to forefoot pitch" issue has been discussed on this thread - ... & I am sure it has also been discussed on another thread (without any “debate creation” occurring). Besides, as stated in my previous post:

    However, this particular thread is an evolution based thread... of which I have questioned some aspects of as well as provided reasoning & an alternative point of view on. Now all topics of valid worth & strong standing can (& should) tolerate such inquiry (& competing positions on) - except one it seems... this issue of Origins (in particular – evolution – which may say something as to the nature of the naturalistic/materialistic reasoning). Hence, in the past we have not debated "creation"... but I feel a more appropriate term is... "Origins"; thus we have debated Origins (or Creation & evolution if you prefer). One may expect this to occur on a thread such as this providing a specific point of view on Origins (i.e. evolution) as its central theme... but I wouldn't think this would occur on a "heel - forefoot pitch differential" related thread.

    I am sure if we are both careful, we may avoid a discussion/debate on the topic of Origins on a subject which I feel need not invoke it... i.e. "heel - forefoot pitch differential".

    Thanks Simon, you have provided this reasoning in the past on discussions such as this. Whilst it attempts to address a somewhat reasonable justification for a 10mm (your scenario) differential, it doesn't address the origins (why was it implemented in the first place) & subsequently the reasoning for its inclusion. In return to the your previous justification, I have stated that we predominantly function on a flat surface with small inclines here & there... & of course there are hills of varying degrees which we might walk/run up & down from time to time. However, homes, shopping centres, work offices, hospitals, athletic tracks etc. etc... are primarily based on flat/level surfaces of which humans function on most of the time. Now your reasoning is based on those small ascent gradients which would offset the impact a 10mm differential may have (which is true) but there are subsequently those descent gradients which would subsequently exacerbate the 10mm differential. Thus, is it unreasonable to suggest we should consider ruling out any potential influencing factor on any gradient of walking/running surface?

    Some may say what's the big deal - after all, it is only i.e. 10mm. However, when one transitions from a 10 - 12mm heel diff. running shoe to a 4mm heel diff. running shoe - they certainly feel a difference. Even when I change from my Nike Free 3.0 (4mm heel diff.) to the Saucony Hattori (0mm heel diff.) I notice quite a difference. We have been accustomed to wearing foot attire with varying heel – forefoot differentials... subsequently, it is reasonable to suggest that this may have had varying adverse influencing repercussions on running forms & subsequent forces contributing to injury. Putting aside the ridiculous fashion related excessive heels on women’s shoes (which contributes to adverse structural positioning & soft tissue trauma); I personally feel the across the board (multiple shoe brands/models) heel height of running shoes should be a lot lower (i.e. 4mm max). If in cases more is needed (i.e. physiological condition) then this should be assessed on an individual basis.

    Anyway, like I said... this can be discussed on another thread. Let's leave this one to anthropology & the historical tales of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis).
  18. In short, I don't agree with your contention; that is I do not agree that humans perform their ambulation predominantly on flat, level surfaces.
  19. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    That's fine Simon - maybe the floor/surface & ground nature/gradient of i.e. buildings (i.e. level floors), ovals, streets etc... are a bit different between England & Australia - that's not to say we don't have our hilly places outside (in nature/terrain) - there are quite a few hills on my regular running course.

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