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Bipedal Walking

Azaria I. Perez &

Bipedalism the mechanics

In the stance phase, the foot is in contact with the substrate and supports the
weight. This phase has three parts: The heel strike The flat foot (or midstance) The toe-off (leaving the ground for the next step)

In the swing phase, the foot comes off the substrate and is repositioned for

the next stance phase adduction (when the leg comes forward and toward the center).

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

The Foramen Magnum
The opening in the skull where the spinal cord enters is called the foramen magnum. Its placement is directly related to the orientation of the cranium. In a quadruped the foramen magnum is more posterior. In a biped the foramen magnum is located more anterior.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Center of Gravity
A biped must balance on one leg half of the time when walking. In most quadrupeds, the center of gravity is located around the center of the torso. In a modern human, the center of gravity is approximately at the center of the pelvis. As the legs alternate swinging forward, the center of gravity shifts from one side of the pelvis to the other, making a pattern similar to the figure "8". The lumbar curvature helps to bring the center of gravity closer to the midline and above the feet.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Lumbar Vertebrae
The number and size of the lumbar vertebrae in humans is
different than in apes. Humans usually have five comparatively larger lumbar vertebrae. Most large apes typically have four lumbar vertebrae.

The difference in size between cervical and lumbar vertebrae

is more marked in humans because the difference in the amount of weight born by the cervical vertebrae (the head) differs from the lumbar vertebrae (the entire upper body). Quadrupeds have a less marked difference because all four limbs share in weight-bearing.

The greater number and size of the vertebrae forms a more

flexible lower back that permits the hips and trunk to swivel forward when walking. Because the ape lower back is less flexible, the hips must shift a greater distance forward with each step when an ape walks bipedally.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

The sacrum articulates with last lumbar vertebra, and
also with the pelvis at the sacroiliac joint. The shape of the sacroiliac joint is a reflection of the lumbar curve.

The sacrum is relatively broad in modern humans

with large sacroiliac joint surfaces. Modern chimpanzees have a relatively smaller sacroiliac joint surface.

These size differences are related to the different

patterns of weight transmission through the pelvis during quadrupedal and bipedal locomotion.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

The ape ilia are more posterior, so they are
closer together and thus the sacrum is narrower. The ape ilia are also long and skinny.

In modern humans, because the ilia are out

to the sides, the bones are farther apart, with a wider sacrum. In humans the ilia are also shorter and broader.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Gluteal Muscles
The gluteal muscles are critical to propulsion and
stability while walking. The orientation (and thus the function) of the gluteal muscles, is different in bipedal humans and quadrupedal apes. now has a lateral orientation. This relatively lateral orientation in humans abducts (i.e., move away from the body) the hip joint. In turn, the gluteal muscles act to stabilize the area by preventing the hip on the supported side (the standing leg) from collapsing toward the unsupported side (the swinging leg). back and less on the sides and act as hip extensors, which move the leg backward when the primate takes a step.

The muscles are shifted toward the sides. The ilium

In apes, these muscles are attached more toward the

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

The femur is a critical link between the pelvis, vertebral
column, and the feet in a biped because all of the body's mass is transferred to the feet via this bone during standing and movement. The gluteal muscles that link the femur to the pelvis provide the propulsive force for locomotion. acetabulum (hip joint). The femoral shaft is generally straight, ending in two bulbous condyles. These are larger in bipeds compared to the relatively smaller and rounder condyles seen in quadrupeds. the acetabulum moves further away from the body's center of gravity. A femoral head with a larger diameter helps to counteract these forces since the larger size absorbs more of the stress. Thus, a larger femoral head is an indicator of larger body weight.

The rounded femoral head articulates with the pelvis at the

More force is exerted on the hip joint and the femoral head as

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Adductor Muscles
The pulling of the leg around toward the center as
you step forward is caused by the adductor muscle group, muscles of which run from your posterior pelvis to the linea aspera on your posterior femur. The muscles are relatively weak and small in apes compared to the marked one on a human femur.

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Bicondylar angle
Because humans hips are wide apart the shaft of the
femur is angled so that the knee is closer to the bodys midline than the hips. This angle is called the bicondylar angle. The effect is to bring the knees closer together, placing the feet directly below the center of gravity. almost vertical within a horizontal plane. In quadrupeds the positioning of the center of gravity during locomotion is less critical since the quadruped is usually supported by 2 or more legs during the swing phase rather than just 1 as with humans.

Compared to modern humans, an ape femur is

Adaptions for Bipedal Walking

Humans have the most distinctive feet of all the apes. Since
only the hind limbs are used for propulsion, the body's entire torso weight (all of the forces generated by running, walking, and jumping) pass through only 1 foot at a time as the biped moves between the swing and stance phases. As a consequence, the foot anatomy must be robust enough to accommodate these forces, while also providing efficient toe-initiated pushoff for propulsion. As an example, the hallux (i.e., big toe) in humans is much larger and more robust than the other four toes. in humans compared to chimpanzees. As the first foot bone to contact the ground, the robust of the calcaneus provides stability and helps absorb the high forces encountered during heel strike. In addition the shape of the calcaneus provides attachment points for strong ligaments that run from the arch of the foot to the tibia. These ligaments add support, creating a double arch system that helps to absorb stress as the foot hits the ground.

The calcaneus, or heel bone, is also relatively large and robust