Potential adaptations for bipedalism in the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae of Homo sapiens: A 3D comparative analysis.

Published on Dec 1, 2019in Journal of Human Evolution3.155
· DOI :10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102693
Kimberly A. Plomp4
Estimated H-index: 4
(SFU: Simon Fraser University),
Una Strand Viðarsdóttir6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of Iceland)
+ 2 AuthorsMark Collard33
Estimated H-index: 33
(SFU: Simon Fraser University)
Abstract A number of putative adaptations for bipedalism have been identified in the hominin spine. However, it is possible that some have been overlooked because only a few studies have used 3D and these studies have focused on cervical vertebrae. With this in mind, we used geometric morphometric techniques to compare the 3D shapes of three thoracic and two lumbar vertebrae of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo pygmaeus. The study had two goals. One was to confirm the existence of traits previously reported to distinguish the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae of H. sapiens from those of the great apes. The other was to, if possible, identify hitherto undescribed traits that differentiate H. sapiens thoracic and lumbar vertebrae from those of the great apes. Both goals were accomplished. Our analyses not only substantiated a number of traits that have previously been discussed in the literature but also identified four traits that have not been described before: (1) dorsoventrally shorter pedicles in the upper thoracic vertebrae; (2) dorsoventrally longer laminae in all five of the vertebrae examined; (3) longer transverse processes in the upper thoracic vertebrae; and (4) craniocaudally ‘pinched’ spinous process tips in all of the vertebrae examined. A review of the biomechanical literature suggests that most of the traits highlighted in our analyses can be plausibly linked to bipedalism, including three of the four new ones. As such, the present study not only sheds further light on the differences between the spines of H. sapiens and great apes but also enhances our understanding of how the shift to bipedalism affected the hominin vertebral column.
  • References (131)
  • Citations (1)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
6 Citations
12 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Stephanie Lois Zlolniski (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 1
#2Nicole Torres-Tamayo (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 3
Last. Markus Bastir (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 30
view all 10 authors...
2 CitationsSource
#1Marc R. Meyer (Chaffey College)H-Index: 10
#2Scott A. Williams (NYU: New York University)H-Index: 15
Abstract Australopitheus anamensis fossils demonstrate that craniodentally and postcranially the taxon was more primitive than its evolutionary successor Australopithecus afarensis . Postcranial evidence suggests habitual bipedality combined with primitive upper limbs and an inferred significant arboreal adaptation. Here we report on A. anamensis fossils from the Assa Issie locality in Ethiopia's Middle Awash area dated to ∼4.2 Ma, constituting the oldest known Australopithecus axial remains. Be...
2 CitationsSource
#1Thomas C. Prang (NYU: New York University)H-Index: 4
Walking on two legs is considered to be one of the first steps towards becoming human. While some animals are also able to walk on two legs, such as kangaroos, birds, and some rodents, the way they move is nevertheless quite distinct to the way humans walk. How animals evolve traits is influenced by the characteristics of their ancestors. But what exactly was the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees like? Most primates are suited for a life in the trees. But some also have skeletal characte...
1 CitationsSource
#1Liza J. Shapiro (University of Texas at Austin)H-Index: 19
#2Addison D. Kemp (University of Texas at Austin)H-Index: 4
2 CitationsSource
#1Mikel Arlegi (University of Bordeaux)H-Index: 5
#2Aida Gómez-RoblesH-Index: 19
Last. Asier Gómez-Olivencia (Ikerbasque)H-Index: 17
view all 3 authors...
OBJECTIVES: Although integration studies are important to understand the evolution of organisms' traits across phylogenies, vertebral integration in primates is still largely unexplored. Here we describe and quantify patterns of morphological integration and modularity in the subaxial cervical vertebrae (C3-C7) in extant hominines incorporating the potential influence of size. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three-dimensional landmarks were digitized on 546 subaxial cervical vertebrae from 141 adult indi...
6 CitationsSource
#1Friderun AnkelH-Index: 1
5 CitationsSource
#1Nathan E. Thompson (New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine)H-Index: 7
#2Sergio Almécija (Autonomous University of Barcelona)H-Index: 18
Abstract Primate vertebral formulae have long been investigated because of their link to locomotor behavior and overall body plan. Knowledge of the ancestral vertebral formulae in the hominoid tree of life is necessary to interpret the pattern of evolution among apes, and to critically evaluate the morphological adaptations involved in the transition to hominin bipedalism. Though many evolutionary hypotheses have been proposed based on living and fossil species, the application of quantitative p...
9 CitationsSource
#1Markus Bastir (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 30
#2Daniel Martínez (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 11
Last. Antonio Rosas (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 48
view all 11 authors...
Abstract Well preserved thoracic vertebrae of Neandertals are rare. However, such fossils are important as their three-dimensional (3D) spatial configuration can contribute to the understanding of the size and shape of the thoracic spine and the entire thorax. This is because the vertebral body and transverse processes provide the articulation and attachment sites for the ribs. Dorsal orientation of the transverse processes relative to the vertebral body also rotates the attached ribs in a way t...
15 CitationsSource
#1Thierra K Nalley (College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific)H-Index: 4
#2Neysa Grider-Potter (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 2
Abstract Recent work has highlighted functional correlations between direct measures of head and neck posture and primate cervical bony morphology. Primates with more horizontal necks exhibit middle and lower cervical vertebral features that indicate increased mechanical advantage for deep nuchal musculature and mechanisms for column curvature formation and maintenance. How features of the C1 and C2 reflect quantified measures of posture have yet to be examined. This study incorporates bony morp...
10 CitationsSource
#1Ella Been (TAU: Tel Aviv University)H-Index: 14
#2Asier Gómez-Olivencia (Ikerbasque)H-Index: 17
Last. Alon Barash (BIU: Bar-Ilan University)H-Index: 12
view all 6 authors...
Spinopelvic alignment refers to the interaction between pelvic orientation, spinal curvatures, and the line of gravity. In a healthy modern human, this alignment is characterized by reciprocal curves/orientation of the sacrum, lumbar lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, and cervical lordosis. In an economic sagittal posture, these curvatures keep the line of gravity close to the center of the acetabulum. The purpose of this study is to explore the spinopelvic alignment in extinct hominins. We examined s...
19 CitationsSource
Cited By1
#1Kimberly A. Plomp (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 4
#2Keith Dobney (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 35
Last. Mark Collard (SFU: Simon Fraser University)H-Index: 33
view all 3 authors...