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BACKGROUND Debates over the evolution of hominin bipedalism, a defining human characteristic, revolve around whether early bipeds walked more like humans, with energetically efficient extended hind limbs, or more like apes with flexed hind limbs. The 3.6 million year old hominin footprints at Laetoli, Tanzania represent the earliest direct evidence of(More)
Mammalian basal metabolic rates (BMR) increase with body mass, whichs explains approximately 95% of the variation in BMR. However, at a given mass, there remains a large amount of variation in BMR. While many researchers suggest that the overall scaling of BMR with body mass is due to physiological constraints, variation at a given body mass may provide(More)
Several biological changes characterize normal brain aging in humans. Although some of these age-associated neural alterations are also found in other species, overt volumetric decline of particular brain structures, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobe, has only been observed in humans. However, comparable data on the effects of aging on regional brain(More)
Recent work has shown that, despite being craniodentally more derived, Australopithecus africanus had more apelike limb-size proportions than A. afarensis. Here, we test whether the A. africanus hand, as judged by metacarpal shaft and articular proportions, was similarly apelike. More specifically, did A. africanus have a short and narrow first metacarpal(More)
BACKGROUND A great deal of experimental research supports strong associations between exercise, cognition, neurogenesis and neuroprotection in mammals. Much of this work has focused on neurogenesis in individual subjects in a limited number of species. However, no study to date has examined the relationship between exercise and neurobiology across a wide(More)
Past studies have hypothesized that aspects of hominin upper limb morphology are linked to the ability to produce stone tools. However, we lack the data on upper limb motions needed to evaluate the biomechanical context of stone tool production. This study seeks to better understand the biomechanics of stone tool-making by investigating upper limb joint(More)
Previous analyses of hand morphology in Australopithecus afarensis have concluded that this taxon had modern human-like manual proportions, with relatively long thumbs and short fingers. These conclusions are based on the A.L.333 composite fossil assemblage from Hadar, Ethiopia, and are premised on the ability to assign phalanges to a single individual, and(More)
Afro-Arabian mammalian communities underwent a marked transition near the Oligocene/Miocene boundary at approximately 24 million years (Myr) ago. Although it is well documented that the endemic paenungulate taxa were replaced by migrants from the Northern Hemisphere, the timing and evolutionary dynamics of this transition have long been a mystery because(More)
Previous work in primates has shown that body size often covaries with ecological parameters related to resource or energy availability in the environment. This relationship may differ for males and females as access to resources has greater importance for reproductive success in females. We test the hypotheses that (1) female body mass may be more tightly(More)
Humans and other primates are distinct among placental mammals in having exceptionally slow rates of growth, reproduction, and aging. Primates' slow life history schedules are generally thought to reflect an evolved strategy of allocating energy away from growth and reproduction and toward somatic investment, particularly to the development and maintenance(More)