Friday, 15 July 2016

Homo erectus walked just like modern humans, study finds

JULY 14, 2016

by Brett Smith

Researchers have found our mysterious forbearer Homo erectus may have had the same gait as us, according to a press release form the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Previous study has revealed Homo erectus, who lived from about 1.9 million years ago to 140,000 years ago, could be the first human predecessor to have the body of a modern human. The primate's long legs indicate it had adapted to bipedal locomotion along the ground, rather than climbing trees like an ape.

To learn more on the walking patterns of a species, scientists typically analyze an animal's feet, legs, and hips. However, a lack of Homo erectus fossils prevents a robust analysis. For instance, just one selection of foot bones, discovered at the Dmanisi site in the European country of Georgia, has been associated with Homo erectus. And even then, the taxonomy of the remains at Dmanisi has been disputed.

Examining Existing Homo erectus Tracks

In the new study, the scientists examined the eight best-preserved tracks from Homo erectus, and the footprints of modern people from the nearby Daasanach group, who spend their day walking barefoot. In many instances, the researchers discovered that these two groups of prints were "statistically indistinguishable," which might reflect comparable foot anatomies and motions.

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