Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'The Scars of Human Evolution': Physical fallout from two-footed walking

Date:
February 17, 2013
Source:
Case Western Reserve University
Summary:
From sore feet to backaches, blame it on human evolution.

From sore feet to backaches, blame it on human evolution. "Because we are the only mammals to walk on two feet," says Bruce Latimer, an anthropologist from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

Latimer will present "A Backache of Longstanding: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Human Vertebral Column" at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in Boston, Feb. 14-18. His talk will be featured in the session, "The Scars of Human Evolution."

Latimer and other panelists will explain how adapting to upright walking has resulted in physical challenges that affect most humans.

"If an engineer were given the task to design the human body, he or she would never have done it the way humans have evolved," Latimer said. "Unfortunately, we can't go back to walking on four feet. We've undergone too much evolutionary change for that -- and it is not the answer to our problems."

But applying Darwinian evolutionary theory to the human condition offers a window to why humans suffer from physical ailments that no other animals do, said Latimer, who is on the faculty in the Department of Orthodontics at Case Western Reserve.

Evolving from four-footed walking has created issues from flat feet and bunions to slipped discs, hernias and fallen pelvic floors. And as bizarre as it sounds, rising from four to two feet resulted in reshaping the face and head, which is why humans suffers with such dental problems as wisdom teeth with no room to grow.

Latimer's talk will focus on physical problems of the spine, which developed into an S-shaped structure as humans shifted from quadrapedal walking to bipedal walking. But changes to the spine also resulted in protecting the body's most important area, the birth canal, which allowed the species to procreate.

As the spine developed in curves, it became stressed at certain points, resulting in such conditions as lordosis (swayed backs), kyphosis (rounded upper back or hunch back) and scoliosis (sideway curve).

The spine also takes a beating from how people walk -- one foot forward at a time with the opposite side arm swinging in step.

"This creates a twisting motion that, after millions of twists over time, the discs between the vertebrae begin to wear out and break down resulting in herniated discs. In addition, age related bone loss (osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease, ) also a human condition, further complicates problems, Latimer explained.

Few early species of ancient human hominids lived beyond 50 years. Most died between 30 and 40, Latimer said. The human body really takes a physical beating, and most people will struggle with some kind of pain as the body ages.

"The original design specs for the human body were designed to last about 40 years," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Case Western Reserve University. "'The Scars of Human Evolution': Physical fallout from two-footed walking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084335.htm>.
Case Western Reserve University. (2013, February 17). 'The Scars of Human Evolution': Physical fallout from two-footed walking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084335.htm
Case Western Reserve University. "'The Scars of Human Evolution': Physical fallout from two-footed walking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084335.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

WHO Calls for Ban on E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) The World Health Organization called Tuesday on governments should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, warning that they pose a "serious threat" to foetuses and young people. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

Official: British Ebola Sufferer Receiving Experimental Drug

AFP (Aug. 26, 2014) A British nurse infected with Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is being given the same experimental drug used on two US missionaries who have recovered for the disease, doctors in London say. Duration: 00:44 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:
from the past week

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