Paleofisiologos a team of ecologists and National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) (Spain) has analyzed the influence of body proportions in the cost of locomotion through a study of experimental energy with 46 subjects of both sexes.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, indicate that the march of Pleistocene hominins was equally energy efficient than modern humans.

The energy cost of locomotion is an aspect that has been extensively studied and debated in paleoanthropology for its important implications. Researchers have used the relationship between the width of the hip, femur length and body mass for modeling the cost in a number of extinct hominids.

Tradicionalmente se pensaba que la mayor gracilidad del esqueleto de los humanos actuales respondía a ventajas biomecánicas que hacían de la locomoción una actividad más eficiente. La pelvis más estrecha de nuestra especie comporta que el parto sea más difícil, pero reduce la fuerza que tienen que ejercer los músculos abductores de la cadera para mantener la estabilidad de la pelvis durante la marcha.

However, as Marco Vidal Cordasco, principal author of this paper explains, "that does not mean that the hominins with wider pelvis spend more energy when walking. In fact, the results show that the wider pelvis, at the height of the iliac crest, allow the energy cost of locomotion is significantly lower. "

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Although hominids had wider hips, it did not mean to spend more energy to walk. (Photo: CENIEH)

Desde hace dos millones de años, con la aparición de la especie Homo ergaster, la masa corporal y el tamaño del cerebro de los homininos ha ido aumentando considerablemente. Estos cambios han conllevado un importante reajuste a nivel metabólico, aumentando la demanda de energía para mantener esos órganos de mayor tamaño.

"However, our results show that the greater efficiency of locomotion was not a compensatory mechanism to the increase in size. Ie that the observed changes in the width of the pelvis and the length of the lower limbs did not reduce the cost of walking enough to offset the increase in energy expenditure resulting from greater body mass, "says Vidal. (Source: CENIEH)


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