Talocrural joint in African hominoids: implications for Australopithecus afarensis

Am J Phys Anthropol. 1987 Oct;74(2):155-75. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.1330740204.


Talocrural joints of the African apes, modern humans, and A.L.288-1 are compared in order to investigate ankle function in the Hadar hominids. Comparisons between the hominids and African pongids clearly illustrate the anatomical and mechanical changes that occurred in this joint as a consequence of the evolutionary transition to habitual bipedality. Features which are considered include the obliquity of the distal tibial articular surface, the shape of the talar trochlea, and the location and functional implications of the talocrural axis. In every functionally significant feature examined the A.L.288-1 talocrural joint is fully bipedal. Moreover, the Hadar ankle complex also shows the functional constraints which are necessarily imposed by the adaptation to habitual bipedalism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Ankle Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Constitution
  • Haplorhini / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Locomotion