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Keywords:

  • foot bones;
  • talus;
  • Omo;
  • bipedalism;
  • human evolution

Abstract

We reanalyze a hominid talus and calcaneus from Omo dating to 2.2 mya and 2.36 mya, respectively. Although both specimens occur at different localities and times, both tarsals articulate well together, suggesting a single taxon on the basis of size and function. We attribute these foot bones to early Homo on the basis of their morphology. The more modern-like tarsal morphology of these Omo foot bones makes them very similar to a talus from Koobi Fora (KNM-ER 813), a specimen attributed to Homo rudolfensis or Homo erectus. Although the Omo tarsals are a million years younger than the oldest known foot bones from Hadar, both localities demonstrate anatomical differences representing two distinct morphological patterns. Although all known hominid tarsals demonstrate clear bipedal features, the tarsal features noted below suggest that biomechanical changes did occur over time, and that certain features are associated with different hominid lineages (especially the robust australopithecines). Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.