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.

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 October 2, 2014 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German World War II Bomber Found in Croatia's Adriatic

German World War II Bomber Found in Croatia's Adriatic

AFP (Oct. 2, 2014) A rare, well-preserved German World War II bomber has been found in Croatia's central Adriatic more than seven decades after it was shot down, the national conservation institute said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

Battle of New Orleans Cannon Gets New Carriage

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) A Spanish cannon used in the Battle of New Orleans and weighing nearly 3 tons was lowered Tuesday by pulleys, chains and muscle onto a new gun carriage like one that might have held it once aboard a navy ship. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

2,000 Year Old Pre-Inca Cloak on Display in Lima

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) A 2,000 year-old Pre-Inca cloak that is believed to represent an agricultural calendar of the Paracas culture is on display in Lima. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
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