The calcaneus of Australopithecus afarensis and its implications for the evolution of bipedality

Authors

  • Bruce Latimer,

    1. Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio 44016
    2. Department of Developmental Genetics and Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106
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  • C. Owen Lovejoy

    1. Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, Ohio 44016
    2. Departments of Anthropology and Biology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242
    3. Human Anatomy Program, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio 44292
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Abstract

Calcanei from African apes, modern humans, and Australopithecus afarensis are compared to investigate the anatomical and mechanical changes that occurred in this bone as a result of the transition to terrestrial bipedality. Features analyzed include the cross-sectional area and volume of the calcaneal tuber, the geometry and orientation of the articular surfaces, and the surface topography of the calcaneal corpus. Calcaneal morphology is unequivocal in its partitioning of quadrupedal pongids and bipedal hominids.

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