Title

Metatarsophalangeal Joints of Australopithecus afarensis

Publication Title

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Publication Date

9-1990

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1002/ajpa.1330830103

Keywords

bipedality, hominid evolution, locomotion

Disciplines

Anthropology

Abstract

Metatarsophalangeal joints from African pongids, modern humans, and Australopithecus afarensis are compared to investigate the anatomical and mechanical changes that accompanied the transition to terrestrial bipedality. Features analyzed include the shape and orientation of the metatarsal heads, excursion of the metatarsophalangeal joints, and orientation of the basal articular surface of the proximal phalanges. These features unequivocally segregate quadrupedal pongids and bipedal hominids and demonstrate a clear adaptation to terrestrial bipedality in the Hadar pedal skeleton.