Learn More
Organisms represent a complex arrangement of anatomical structures and individuated parts that must maintain functional associations through development. This integration of variation between functionally related body parts and the modular organization of development are fundamental determinants of their evolvability. This is because integration results in(More)
Human radial digits have derived features compared with apes, with long robust thumbs, relatively larger joint surfaces, and hypertrophic thenar muscles. Here we test the hypothesis that these features evolved in the context of making and using stone tools, specifically for producing large gripping forces and for countering large joint contact stresses. We(More)
Organisms exhibit an incredible diversity of form, a fact that makes the evolution of novelty seemingly self-evident. However, despite the "obvious" case for novelty, defining this concept in evolutionary terms is highly problematic, so much so that some have suggested discarding it altogether. Approaches to this problem tend to take either an adaptation-(More)
The phalangeal portion of the forefoot is extremely short relative to body mass in humans. This derived pedal proportion is thought to have evolved in the context of committed bipedalism, but the benefits of shorter toes for walking and/or running have not been tested previously. Here, we propose a biomechanical model of toe function in bipedal locomotion(More)
The Dmanisi hominins inhabited a northern temperate habitat in the southern Caucasus, approximately 1.8 million years ago. This is the oldest population of hominins known outside of Africa. Understanding the set of anatomical and behavioral traits that equipped this population to exploit their seasonal habitat successfully may shed light on the selection(More)
Social behaviour of fossil hominoid species is notoriously difficult to predict owing to difficulties in estimating body size dimorphism from fragmentary remains and, in hominins, low canine size dimorphism. Recent studies have shown that the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D : 4D), a putative biomarker for prenatal androgen effects (PAEs), covaries with(More)
Human hands and feet have longer, more robust first digits, and shorter lateral digits compared to African apes. These similarities are often assumed to be independently evolved adaptations for manipulative activities and bipedalism, respectively. However, hands and feet are serially homologous structures that share virtually identical developmental(More)
Mammals are remarkably diverse in limb lengths and proportions, but the number and kind of developmental mechanisms that contribute to length differences between limb bones remain largely unknown. Intra- and interspecific differences in bone length could result from variations in the cellular processes of endochondral bone growth, creating differences in(More)
The human skull is a complex and highly integrated structure that has long held the fascination of anthropologists and evolutionary biologists. Recent studies of the genetics of craniofacial variation reveal a very complex and multifactorial picture. These findings contrast with older ideas that posit much simpler developmental bases for variation in(More)