The calcaneus of Australopithecus afarensis and its implications for the evolution of bipedality

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1989 Mar;78(3):369-86. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1330780306.


Calcanei from African apes, modern humans, and Australopithecus afarensis are compared to investigate the anatomical and mechanical changes that occurred in this bone as a result of the transition to terrestrial bipedality. Features analyzed include the cross-sectional area and volume of the calcaneal tuber, the geometry and orientation of the articular surfaces, and the surface topography of the calcaneal corpus. Calcaneal morphology is unequivocal in its partitioning of quadrupedal pongids and bipedal hominids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Calcaneus / anatomy & histology*
  • Calcaneus / physiology
  • Foot / anatomy & histology
  • Foot / physiology
  • Fossils
  • Gait
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Hominidae / physiology
  • Humans
  • Locomotion*