Modern humans use an efficient bipedal gait that is unique among living primates, and its emergence likely had broad influences on biology, behaviour and ecology that shaped our evolution. Recent discoveries have substantially expanded the known record of ancient hominin footprints, offering new evidence that may greatly advance our understanding of human locomotor evolution. We use biplanar X-ray, 3D animation and computer simulation methods to understand the complex interactions between foot and substrate through which footprints (i.e., tracks) are created. These innovative methods provide a novel toolkit for using a rapidly expanding record of hominin footprints to evaluate prominent, long-standing hypotheses regarding the evolution of human bipedalism.
Other Projects from the Palaeontology Group
Flexibility in primate behaviour in response to anthropogenic impact
Understanding how animals respond to anthropogenically disturbed environments is important for human-wildlife cohabitation and to facilitate the development of appropriate management strategies.
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