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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Laetoli footprints reveal bipedal gait biomechanics different from those of modern humans and chimpanzees

Pliocene hominin footprints from Laetoli, Tanzania. We conducted footprint formation experiments with habitually barefoot humans and with chimpanzees to quantitatively compare their footprints to those preserved at Laetoli. Our results show that the Laetoli footprints are morphologically distinct from those of both chimpanzees and habitually barefoot modern humans. By analysing biomechanical data that were collected during the human experiments we, for the first time, directly link differences between the Laetoli and modern human footprints to specific biomechanical variables. We find that the Laetoli hominin probably used a more flexed limb posture at foot strike than modern humans when walking bipedally. The Laetoli footprints provide a clear snapshot of an early homi-nin bipedal gait that probably involved a limb posture that was slightly but significantly different from our own, and these data support the hypothesis that important evolutionary changes to hominin bipedalism occurred within the past 3.66 Myr.
Laetoli footprints reveal bipedal gait biomechanics different from those of modern humans and chimpanzees (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305800105_Laetoli_footprints_reveal_bipedal_gait_biomechanics_different_from_those_of_modern_humans_and_chimpanzees [accessed Jun 6, 2017].



https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305800105_Laetoli_footprints_reveal_bipedal_gait_biomechanics_different_from_those_of_modern_humans_and_chimpanzees

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