The OH8 foot: a reappraisal of the functional morphology of the hindfoot utilizing a multivariate analysis

R.S. Kidd, P. O'Higgins, Charles Oxnard

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Abstract

The Olduvai Hominid 8 (OH8) foot has long been the centre of investigation in considering the locomotor adaptations of early Home, the original interpretation reporting it as having ''... principal affinities... with that of Home sapiens'' and having ''... the structural requirements of an upright stance and a fully bipedal gait'' (Day gr Napier, 1964). These conclusions have since proved to be controversial. The ape foot and that of the modern human differ in many areas, two of which are the divergence of the first ray found in apes but not humans. and the decreased, but alterable, range of motion at the midtarsal joint. The modifications required to reduce the range of motion at the midtarsal joint to that of the human are principally twofold, one at each of the talonavicular and calcaneocuboid joints. A univariate analysis of the four bones involved in the midtarsal joint of OH8 reveals that, although the calcaneocuboid articulation has assumed an essentially human-like state, the essen talonavicular joint has not. A series of multivariate investigations have been undertaken in order to identify patterns of morphological variation in biomechanically relevant features of the four hindmost tarsal elements among humans, selected apes and OH8. The results confirm the earlier univariate findings and firmly indicate the functional affinities of the four bones to be mosaic, in some respects being human-like while in others being essentially ape-like, suggesting the presence of a divergent first ray. These findings shed some doubt upon the original interpretation of the gait of this hominid and support a hypothesis of mixed locomotor adaptation, possibly arboreal and terrestrial. (C) 1996 Academic Press Limited
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-291
JournalJournal of Human Evolution
Volume31
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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