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Foot Ankle. 1983 May-Jun;3(6):365-76.

Evolution of the human foot: evidence from Plio-Pleistocene hominids.


The human foot serves a dual role during locomotion. It functions at times as a mobile structure and at times as a rigid lever. The human foot shows the hallmarks of an arboreal heritage wherein the foot was primarily a grasping organ. Over the course of the human career the human foot has evolved an elaborate plantar aponeurosis, strong plantar ligaments, longitudinal arches, an enlarged musculus flexor accessorius, an adducted (non-opposable) hallux, a remodeled calcaneocuboid joint, a long tarsus, and shortened toes (II to V). Comparisons of the chimpanzee and human foot allow us to reconstruct the pathway of foot evolution. Fossil foot bones of Homo habilis, dated at 1.76 million years, are remarkably like those of modern humans. Foot bones from Hadar, dated at around 3.5 million years, are remarkably chimpanzee-like, with only incipient human traits. The surprising chimpanzee-like qualities of the Hadar fossils strongly support the use of living apes as models of ancestral pongidhominid morphotypes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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