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Acta Orthop Suppl. 2009 Aug;80(336):1-39.

Evolution of the hip and pelvis.

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Department of Orthopaedics, the Hague, the Netherlands.


Man's evolution features two unique developments: growing a huge brain and upright gait. Their combination makes the pelvis the most defining skeletal element to read human evolution. Recent revival in joint preserving hip surgery have brought to attention morphological variations of the human hip that appear similar to hips of extant mammals. In man, such variations can produce hip osteoarthrosis through motion. We reviewed the evolution of the hip and pelvis with special interest in morphology that can lead to motion induced osteoarthrosis in man. The combination of giving birth to big brained babies and walking upright has produced marked differences between the sexes in pelvis and hip morphology, each having their characteristic mode of hip impingement and osteoarthrosis.

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