Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Do You Have Ape-Like Feet?

Monday, June 10, 2013

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS—Jeremy DeSilva of Boston University and a colleague asked nearly 400 visitors to the Boston Museum of Science to walk barefoot across a mechanized carpet in order to analyze their gaits and the flexibility of their feet. The scientists concluded that about one in 13 people have feet that are ape-like, in that the middle part of the foot bends easily while pushing off to take the next step. These people also roll to the inside of the foot as they walk, similar to the way the bone structure of Australopithecus sediba suggests that it walked two million years ago. Most modern humans have rigid feet for stability. “We are using variation in humans today as a model for understanding what this human creature two million years ago was doing,” said De Silva.