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Functional morphology of the lumbar spine in hominoids

Martelli, SA; Schmid, P; (2003) Functional morphology of the lumbar spine in hominoids. In: Franzen, JL and Kohler, M and MoyaSola, S, (eds.) WALKING UPRIGHT. (pp. 61 - 69). E SCHWEIZERBART'SCHE VERLAGSBUCHHANDLUNG

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Abstract

In mammals, size and structure of the lumbar vertebrae are correlated with locomotior behaviour. Utilising sagittal sections, the present study compares the lumbar morphology of modern Homo sapiens, the great apes, australopithecines (A. afarensis, AL 288-1, A. africanus, Sts 14, Stw 8 & 431, P. robustus, Sk 853) and Homo ergaster (KNM-WT 15000) in order to determine traits that separate habitual or obligate bipedal species from quadrupeds, and to explain how these traits functionally contribute to the adaptations of bipedal walking.The results of this study indicate that bipedal taxa are clearly separated from the quadrupedal great apes, with the australopithecines forming a well-defined functionally related group compared to modern humans. Differences between taxa are highly size-correlated using raw data. However, size corrected data show that the following traits discriminate bipedal species from quadrupeds: Length of the inferior processus articulates, angle formed by the origin of ligamentum flavum on the internal laminar structure, and the angle formed by the inferior processus articularis against the sagittal line through the posterior side of the vertebral body. These traits primarily contribute to variation in the size of the lumbar lordosis, and the degree of bending and rotation between single vertebrae. The importance of these traits highlights the general role of the lumbar vertebral column as an important driving element in bipedal locomotion, working as a kinetic transport element.

Type:Proceedings paper
Title:Functional morphology of the lumbar spine in hominoids
Event:13th International Senckenberg Conference
Location:SENCHENBERG RES INST, FRANKFURT, GERMANY
Dates:1999-10-05 - 1999-10-09
ISBN:3-510-61357-0
Keywords:lumbar spine, vertebrae, lordosis, functional morphology, australopithecines, hominoids, VERTEBRAL BODIES, LOCOMOTION, PROPORTIONS, HADAR
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of)

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