The natural history of human gait and posture. II. Hip and thigh

Matthew Ferrini Institute of Human Evolutionary Research, Division of Biomedical Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA.
Gait & Posture (Impact Factor: 2.75). 01/2005; 21(1):113-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2004.06.010
Source: PubMed


The human fossil record is one of the most complete for any mammal. A basal ancestral species, Australopithecus afarensis, exhibits a well-preserved postcranium that permits reconstruction of important events in the evolution of our locomotor skeleton. When compared to those of living apes and humans, it provides insights into the origin and design of the modern human frame. Evolutionary aspects of the human hip and thigh are reviewed, including the unusual corticotrabecular structure of the human proximal femur, and our markedly elongated lower limb. It is postulated that the latter may be more related to birthing capacity than to locomotion.

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Available from: owen lovejoy, Feb 06, 2014
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    • "There are other ways of understanding how mechanical adaptation of adult bone might be influenced by femur size. Following Lovejoy's interpretation of Frost's mechanostat [9], one could hypothesise that larger femurs have a greater amount of superior femoral neck bone tissue below the " trivial loading zone " that leads to bone removal though remodelling. Recent insights into bone adaptation through computer simulated dynamic mechanotransduction support this notion. "
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    ABSTRACT: Within each sex, there is an association between hip fracture risk and the size of the proximal femur, with larger femurs apparently more susceptible to fracture. Here, we investigate whether the thickness and density of the femoral cortex play a role in this association: might larger femurs harbour focal, cortical defects? To answer this question, we used cortical bone mapping to measure the distribution of cortical mass surface density (CMSD, mg/cm(2)) in cohorts of 308 males and 125 females. Principal component analysis of the various femoral surfaces led to a measure of size that is linearly independent from shape. After mapping the data onto a canonical femur surface, we used statistical parametric mapping to identify any regions where CMSD depends on size, allowing for other confounding covariates including shape. Our principal finding was a focal patch on the superior femoral neck, where CMSD is reduced by around 1% for each 1% increase in proximal-distal size (p<0.000005 in the males, p<0.001 in the females). This finding appears to be consistent with models of functional adaptation, and may help with the design of interventional strategies for reducing fracture risk. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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    • "Concerning humans, biomechanical models showed that both forces induced by the body weight and forces induced by abductor muscles, which act to prevent pelvic drop (Pauwels, 1935; Inman, 1947; McLeish and Charnley, 1970), result in a gradient of compressive constraints running from low intensity at the superior part to high intensity at the superior part (Pauwels, 1980; Lovejoy, 1988, 2005b). This gradient may partly explain the asymmetric growth of the femoral neck cortex. "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Human Evolution
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    • "Allocation of major changes in the posterior border is interesting because functional aspects are related to birth canal configuration and restricted on illium position [20] [41]. In females, the pelvis also serves as a birth canal, and thus it may be inferred that the evolution of pelvic dimorphism is associated with parturition [42]; nevertheless, the opening notch is intrinsically related with the greater or false pelvic cavity (inferior abdominal region) and not by the lesser cavity (ischium and pubis); therefore more related with bipedal locomotion [43] [44] [45]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sex estimation is the first step for biological profile reconstruction of an unknown skeleton (archaeological or contemporary) and consequently for positive identification of skeletal remains recovered from forensic settings. Several tools have been developed using different osseous structures. With the intention to provide an objective method comparison, we reported the analysis of three different methods (visual, metric and geometric morphometrics) for sex assessment of the greater sciatic notch. One hundred and thirty pelvic bones (45.4% females and 54.6% males) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico Skeletal Collection pertaining to the contemporary Mexican population were analyzed. We used the ROC-analysis to test between desired false positive thresholds (1-specificity) and expected true positive rates (sensitivity) in order to predict the best approach to sex assessment. The comparison of the area under the ROC-curves shows significant differences among visual and metric methods. At the same time, the analysis suggested that higher morphological variation among the sexes is independent of the methodological approach. The results indicate that the metric (angle), with a high percent of indeterminate cases (34.6%), and visual, with 26.2% of the cases allocated as intermediate cases, were poorly accurate; we cannot recommend these techniques for sexing an unknown specimen. On the other hand, the geometric morphometrics approach improves sex estimation in 82.3% of correctly classified individuals with more than 95% of posterior probability. In addition to the method comparison, the major sexual variation of the greater sciatic notch was determined to be located on its posterior border.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Forensic science international
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