|Title||Locomotor anatomy and biomechanics of the Dmanisi hominins|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Authors||Pontzer, H, Rolian, C, Rightmire, PG, Jashashvili, T, Ponce de León, MS, Lordkipanidze, D, Zollikofer, CPE|
|Journal||Journal of Human Evolution|
|Keywords||bipedality, dmanisi, Early Pleistocene, energetics, foot, hindlimb, locomotion, to-save|
The Dmanisi hominins inhabited a northern temperate habitat in the southern Caucasus, approximately 1.8 million years ago. This is the oldest population of hominins known outside of Africa. Understanding the set of anatomical and behavioral traits that equipped this population to exploit their seasonal habitat successfully may shed light on the selection pressures shaping early members of the genus Homo and the ecological strategies that permitted the expansion of their range outside of the African subtropics. The abundant stone tools at the site, as well as taphonomic evidence for butchery, suggest that the Dmanisi hominins were active hunters or scavengers. In this study, we examine the locomotor mechanics of the Dmanisi hind limb to test the hypothesis that the inclusion of meat in the diet is associated with an increase in walking and running economy and endurance. Using comparative data from modern humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas, as well as other fossil hominins, we show that the Dmanisi hind limb was functionally similar to modern humans, with a longitudinal plantar arch, increased limb length, and human-like ankle morphology. Other aspects of the foot, specifically metatarsal morphology and tibial torsion, are less derived and similar to earlier hominins. These results are consistent with hypotheses linking hunting and scavenging to improved walking and running performance in early Homo . Primitive retentions in the Dmanisi foot suggest that locomotor evolution continued through the early Pleistocene.
Locomotor anatomy and biomechanics of the Dmanisi hominins
For years, I've worked on their bones. Now I'm working on their genes. Read more about the science studying these ancient people.
From a finger bone of an ancient human came the record of a completely unexpected population. My lab is working on the science of the Denisova genome.
The advent of agriculture caused natural selection to speed up greatly in humans. We're uncovering some of the ways that populations have rapidly changed during the last 10,000 years.