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Jasper Pitchford

Prof Handley
March 27, y

Lucy’s Flat Feet
Signature assignment for Human Origins

The article I selected was named,“Lucy’s Flat Feet: The Relationship between the
Ankle and the Rearfoot Arching in Early Hominins, written by Jeremy M. DeSilva and
Zachary J. Throckmorton. To summarize the article, it was considering how flat feet
of early hominids changed into feet with arches, and how the early hominid Lucy
had flat feet while others within her species did not.
While reviewing my article, I also came across “Tree climbing and human evolution”
by Vivek V. Venkataraman, Thomas S. Kraft, and Nathaniel J. Dominy. The article
looks into how as hominids became bipedal they have not lost the ability to climb
trees. It is explained how many tribes currently climb trees to get the needed
honey, fruits, and small prey for survival. With much of the climbing it would be
expected to have a higher mortality rate due to falls, this is not what has been
found by some tribes in Malaysia and in the Congo. The article references “Lucy’s
Flat Feet” in the beginning when explaining the different arguments regarding how
the foot has adapted with a rigid angle to be bipedal and less arboreal.

The article’s use of the scientific method was with the physical evidence they
had available. A comparison is shown between a Homo sapiens arch versus
that of a Pan troglodytes (Chimpanzee) they are able to show the visual
difference of the tibial arch, to show how much the arch is different between
a bipedal species, and a more arboreal. Further information is provided
based on evidence found in fossils from foot prints, and skeletal scans of
humans. The article concludes that changes have taken place through
evolution from arboreal to bipedal.

As I read through the article it was more reviewing what their hypothesis was, and
how they had used information from multiple pieces of information to prove their
hypothesis. I struggled with this article due to the amount of medical terminology,
and found researching the different words used helped me understand more and

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how the human foot may have evolved. When reading through the second article I
could gather more information to gain a better understanding behind why this is
something that is being researched.

I found out that it is very hard to study the arches in ancient forms of hominids
since soft tissue from the Skelton doesn’t fossilize well. This means that to study the
foot and its workings the scientist had to study footprints of Au. afarines to make
determinations about its arch development (1). What they found it in the future I
would have wanted to find a subject that I may understand, and connect more with.

After reading through both articles, I found watching a video helped connect more
about the changes in our feet from being arboreal to bipedal and eventually move
across the Savannah by running(3). When we look at how the climate was changing,
it would have been an evolutionary change needed in order to survive. Both articles
reviewed how the foot had changed, and how having flat feet does not cause pain
(1) or prevent us from being able to still climb trees (2).

This was an area of research I may never have even looked at, but the knowledge
helps me look and understand these areas more. When reading through the first
article it discussed how children develop their arch while they are between the ages
of 3-6 years old, and this may be due to something while developing (1). My
knowledge in this area was limited, and only included that if you had flat feet, you
may need special shoes and would be limited from getting into the military. After
reading through these articles I see that there may be more of a connection about
hominids activity in the trees versus walking, or even that the arches may have
developed during Au. Erectus as they started running through grasslands (3).

In reviewing the papers I relied on search engines quite substantially to understand
the different medical terms, though it did not connect with the information provided.
Additional research in this area would be needed around the anatomy of a foot, in
order to understand more about modern humans to then understand the
information provided in the peer review articles. I cannot say my opinion was
changed, as I did not have an opinion on this area of research. My knowledge has
increased through the research of the area, and will be something that moving
forward may continue to grow.

(1) Desilva, Jeremy M., and Zachary J. Throckmorton. "Lucy's Flat Feet: The
Relationship between the Ankle and Rearfoot Arching in Early Hominins." PLoS

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ONE 5, no. 12 (2010). Accessed March 26, 2017.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014432.
(2) (2) Venkataraman, Vivek V., Thomas S. Kraft, and Nathaniel J. Dominy. "Tree
climbing and human evolution." Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences 110, no. 4 (2012): 1237-242. Accessed March 26, 2017.
doi:10.1073/pnas.1208717110.
(3) BBC News. Accessed March 23, 2017.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00jjjw4.

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