The distal femoral anatomy of Australopithecus

Authors

  • Kingsbury G. Heiple,

    1. Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
    2. Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242
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  • C. Owen Lovejoy

    1. Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
    2. Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242
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Abstract

The anatomy of the distal femoral fragments from Sterkfontein is reviewed, including its orthopaedic and biomechanical implications with respect to locomotion pattern. Comparisons are made with other hominids and a number of quadrupedal primates. Items which are considered are the obliquity and robustness of the shaft, the anterior intercondylar groove, the intercondylar notch, and the contour of the medial and lateral articular surfaces. The distinctive hominid status of these specimens is shown by their extensive adaptation to bipedal locomotion. No feature is found which is not fully commensurate with completely bipedal locomotion; rather, their distinctive hominid character points to a need for a reanalysis of the gait pattern in these early Pleistocene hominids.

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