Like most science bloggers I accumulate a wide variety of articles, some of which I not read until quite awhile after I find them. So, I thought one way of working through them would be to blog about them on a weekly basis, say on a Sunday. I’m thinking a short post about one or more articles with links (whenever possible) to the article(s) in question.
Locomotion and body proportions of the Saint-Cesaire 1 Chatelperronian Neandertal
This is by Trinkaus, Ruff, Churchill, and Vandermeersch. They perform a cross sectional analysis of the right femur of Saint-Cesaire 1 and conclude that although Saint-Cesaire 1 displays the same cold adapted morphology as other European Neanderthals, it displayed morphology indicating mobility behavior similar to early modern humans. As they put it:
At the same time, there is evidence of a shift in locomotor patterns, with the presence of the femoral anteroposterior reinforcement associated with increased mobility and seen more frequently among early modern humans than among the Neandertals. The impression is of a late Neandertal, in the context of significant cultural change, reflecting in its otherwise fully Neandertal biology the emergence of an early modern human behavioral pattern.
Arboreal and Terrestrial Traits as Revealed by the Primate Ankle Joint
This paper looks at the morphology of the ankle of a wide variety of primates (including one hominin) and tries to distinguish between arboreal and terrestrial locomotion. The paper comes to some interesting, and somewhat counterintuitive, conclusions:
A functional analysis of the newly discovered ankle joint of the Late Pliocene Old World monkey Paradolichopithecus arvernensis leads to the conclusion that this monkey not only had a terrestrial way of life, but has also a gait similar to that of Australopithecus afarensis,
revealing thus a parallel evolution between cercopithecoids and hominoids in this respect. The evolution of the australopithecine-like locomotion in Paradolichopithecus leads to the conclusion that the hominine pattern is not unique. The evolution of highly terrestrial locomotion in the Old World monkey Paradolichopithecus was, just as it was in Australopithecus, essential to enter an open plain to cover large distances in search for food. Paradolichopithecus shares its type of locomotion with Australopithecus, who is considered to have displayed a substantial degree of bipedalism in its locomotory repertoire.
Personally, I’m a bit skeptical of this conclusion.
Filed under: Paleoanthropology