Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Humans Wore 'Shoes' 30,000 Years Ago

Date:
August 22, 2005
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Our modern day Nikes and Reeboks are direct descendents of the first supportive footwear that new research suggests came into use in western Eurasia between 26,000 and 30,000 years ago. Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, derived those dates by analyzing anatomical evidence of early modern humans, which suggests a reduction in the strength of the smaller toes in Upper Paleolithic humans while there was little change in leg strength.

A 26,000 year-old early modern human, Dolni Vestonice 16 from the Czech Republic, showing the reduced strength of the bones of the lesser toes. It is one of three partial foot skeletons from Dolni Vestonice that shows the reduced lesser toe strength, all dating to about 26,000 years ago.
Credit: Photo Erik Trinkaus / Czech Academy of Sciences

Aug. 17, 2005 — Those high-tech, air-filled,light-as-a-feather sneakers on your feet are a far cry from the leatherslabs our ancestors wore for protection and support.

Related Articles


Thosehigh-tech, air-filled, light-as-a-feather sneakers on your feet are afar cry from the leather slabs our ancestors wore for protection andsupport.

But believe it or not, our modern day Nikes and Reeboksare direct descendents of the first supportive footwear that newresearch suggests came into use in western Eurasia between 26,000 and30,000 years ago.

Erik Trinkaus, Ph.D., the Mary TilestonHemenway Professor of Physical Anthropology, derived those dates byanalyzing anatomical evidence of early modern humans, which suggests areduction in the strength of the smaller toes in Upper Paleolithichumans while there was little change in leg strength.

His research was published in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Trinkausargues that early humans living in far northern climates began to putinsulation on their feet around 500,000 years ago. While archaeologicalevidence suggests that protective footwear was in use by at least themiddle Upper Paleolithic in portions of Europe, the frequency of useand the actual mechanical protection provided by that footwear wasunclear.

Use of protective footwear has been difficult to document because in most cases the footwear does not survive the test of time.

Lackingsuch physical evidence, Trinkaus analyzed the foot bones of westernEurasian Middle Paleolithic and middle Upper Paleolithic humans. Indoing so, he found the anatomy of their feet began to change startingaround 26,000 years ago.

"I discovered that the bones of thelittle toes of humans from that time frame were much less stronglybuilt than those of their ancestors while their leg bones remainedlarge and strong," Trinkaus said. "The most logical cause would be theintroduction of supportive footwear."

During barefoot walking,the smaller toes flex for traction, keeping the toe bones strong.Supportive footwear lessens the roll of the little toes, thus weakeningthem.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Early Humans Wore 'Shoes' 30,000 Years Ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233037.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2005, August 22). Early Humans Wore 'Shoes' 30,000 Years Ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233037.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Early Humans Wore 'Shoes' 30,000 Years Ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050821233037.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Artefacts from the Battle of Waterloo go on display at Windsor Castle to mark the 200th anniversary of the momentous battle. The exhibition includes contemporary prints, drawings and personal belongings of French Emperor Napoleon. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) A 55,000-year-old partial skull found in the Middle East gives clues to when our ancestors left their African homeland, and strengthens theories that they co-habited with Neanderthals. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins