Cortical bone distribution in the femoral neck of hominoids: Implications for the locomotion of Australopithecus afarensis
ABSTRACT Contiguous high resolution computed tomography images were obtained at a 1.5 mm slice thickness perpendicular to the neck axis from the base of the femoral head to the trochanteric line in a sample of 10 specimens each of Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, and Gorilla gorilla, plus five specimens of Pan paniscus. Superior, inferior, anterior, and posterior cortical thicknesses were automatically measured directly from these digital images. Throughout the femoral neck H. sapiens displays thin superior cortical bone and inferior cortical bone that thickens distally. In marked contrast, cortical bone in the femoral neck of African apes is more uniformly thick in all directions, with even greater thickening of the superior cortical bone distally. Because the femoral neck acts as a cantilevered beam, its anchorage at the neck-shaft junction is subjected to the highest bending stresses and is the most biomechanically relevant region to inspect for response to strain. As evinced by A.L. 128-1, A.L. 211-1 and MAK-VP-1/1, Australopithecus afarensis is indistinguishable from H. sapiens, but markedly different from African apes in cortical bone distribution at the femoral neck-shaft junction. Cortical distribution in the African ape indicates much greater variation in loading conditions consistent with their more varied locomotor repertoire. Cortical distribution in hominids is a response to the more stereotypic loading pattern imposed by habitual bipedality, and thin superior cortex in A. afarensis confirms the absence of a significant arboreal component in its locomotor repertoire. Am J Phys Anthropol 104:117–131, 1997. © 1997 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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ABSTRACT: Human evolution unfolded through a rather distinctive, dynamically constructed ecological niche. The human niche is not only generally terrestrial in habitat, while being flexibly and extensively heterotrophic in food-web connections. It is also defined by semiotically structured and structuring embodied cognitive interfaces, connecting the individual organism with the wider environment. The embodied dimensions of niche-population co-evolution have long involved semiotic system construction, which I hypothesize to be an evolutionarily primitive aspect of learning and higher-level cognitive integration and attention in the great apes and humans alike. A clearly pre-linguistic form of semiotic cognitive structuration is suggested to involve recursively learned and constructed object icons. Higher-level cognitive iconic representation of visually, auditorily, or haptically perceived extrasomatic objects would be learned and evoked through indexical connections to proprioceptive and affective somatic states. Thus, private cognitive signs would be defined, not only by their learned and perceived extrasomatic referents, but also by their associations to iconically represented somatic states. This evolutionary modification of animal associative learning is suggested to be adaptive in ecological niches occupied by long-lived, large-bodied ape species, facilitating memory construction and recall in highly varied foraging and social contexts, while sustaining selective attention during goal-directed behavioral sequences. The embodied niche construction (ENC) hypothesis of human evolution posits that in the early hominin lineage, natural selection further modified the ancestral ape semiotic adaptations, favoring the recursive structuration of concise iconic narratives of embodied interaction with the environment.Frontiers in Psychology 08/2014; 5:834. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00834 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In humans, the hip joint occupies a central place in the locomotor system, as it plays an important role in body support and the transmission of the forces between the trunk and lower limbs. The study of the three-dimensional biomechanics of this joint has important implications for documenting the morphological changes associated with the acquisition of a habitual bipedal gait in humans. Functional integration at any joint has important implications in joint stability and performance. The aim of the study was to evaluate the functional integration at the human hip joint. Both the level of concordance between the three-dimensional axes of the acetabulum and the femoral neck in a bipedal posture, and patterns of covariation between these two axes were analysed. First, inter-individual variations were quantified and significant differences in the three-dimensional orientations of both the acetabulum and the femoral neck were detected. On a sample of 57 individuals, significant patterns of covariation were identified, however, the level of concordance between the axes of both the acetabulum and the femoral neck in a bipedal posture was lower than could be expected for a key joint such as the hip. Patterns of covariation were explored regarding the complex three-dimensional biomechanics of the full pelvic-femoral complex. Finally, we suggest that the lower degree of concordance observed at the human hip joint in a bipedal posture might be partly due to the phylogenetic history of the human species.Journal of Human Evolution 04/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.12.013 · 3.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Functional analyses of human and nonhuman anthropoid primate femoral neck structure have largely ignored the trabecular bone. We tested hypotheses regarding differences in the relative distribution and structural anisotropy of trabecular bone in the femoral neck of quadrupedal and climbing/suspensory anthropoids. We used high-resolution X-ray computed tomography to analyze quantitatively the femoral neck trabecular structure of Ateles geoffroyi, Symphalangus syndactylus, Alouatta seniculus, Colobus guereza, Macaca fascicularis, and Papio cynocephalus (n = 46). We analyzed a size-scaled superior and inferior volume of interest (VOI) in the femoral neck. The ratio of the superior to inferior VOI bone volume fraction indicated that the distribution of trabecular bone was inferiorly skewed in most (but not all) quadrupeds and evenly distributed the climbing/suspensory species, but interspecific comparisons indicated that all taxa overlapped in these measurements. Degree of anisotropy values were generally higher in the inferior VOI of all species and the results for the two climbing/suspensory taxa, A. geoffroyi (1.71 +/- 0.30) and S. syndactylus (1.55 +/- 0.04), were similar to the results for the quadrupedal anthropoids, C. guereza (male = 1.64 +/- 0.13; female = 1.68 +/- 0.07) and P. cynocephalus (1.47 +/- 0.13). These results suggest strong trabecular architecture similarity across body sizes, anthropoid phylogenetic backgrounds, and locomotor mode. This structural similarity might be explained by greater similarity in anthropoid hip joint loading mechanics than previously considered. It is likely that our current models of anthropoid hip joint mechanics are overly simplistic.The Anatomical Record Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology 04/2007; 290(4):422-36. DOI:10.1002/ar.20493 · 1.53 Impact Factor