FOSSIL FEET AND THE EVOLUTION OF BIPEDALISM IN THE HUMAN LINEAGE
Thu, 07/02/2019 - 19:30
The Auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg
Date: Thursday, 7 February 2019
Venue: The auditorium, Roedean School,
35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown
Charge: Non-members: R30, members: free
Bipedalism is a hallmark of being human and the human foot is modified to reflect this unique form of locomotion. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with calling the human foot “a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” However, a scientific approach to human origins has revealed that our feet are products of a long, evolutionary history in which a mobile, grasping organ has been converted into a propulsive structure adapted for the rigors of bipedal locomotion.
In the last two decades, the human foot fossil record has quadrupled, and these new discoveries have fostered new perspectives on how our feet evolved. In this review, anatomical differences between extant ape and human foot bones, and an examination of the hominin foot fossil record will be discussed.
Bernhard is a palaeoanthroplogist with a special interest in the biomechanics and evolution of the human foot, the origins of hominin bipedalism, palaeopathology and the preservation of natural history collections. He became the University Curator of Fossil and Rock Collections at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2007 and was Head of the Department of Podiatry at the University of Johannesburg. Bernhard holds qualifications in Podiatric Medicine and Post-School Education from the University of Johannesburg, a BSc (Hons) from the University of Brighton and a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, is the past President of the Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa and recently became a Fellow of the South African Podiatry Association. He has published papers on the hominin discoveries at Malapa and Dinaledi as well as a series of papers on foot evolution.