The foot of Homo naledi
W. E. H. Harcourt-Smith, Z. Throckmorton, K. A. Congdon, B. Zipfel, A. S. Deane, M. S. M. Drapeau, S. E. Churchill, L. R. Berger & J. M. DeSilva
Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo.
Subject terms: Biological sciences Evolution Palaeontology
FREE PDF GRATIS: Nature Communications