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Ape-like feet found in humans

Posted on Sunday, 2 June, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments | News tip by: seeder

Image credit: sxc.hu

Researchers have discovered that 1 in 13 people have flexible feet similar to those of apes.

Jeremy DeSilva and a colleague from Boston University used a special mechanized carpet to analyze components of the feet of 398 visitors to the Boston Museum of Science. Other ape species like chimpanzees spend a lot of time in trees, a lifestyle for which their flexible feet are essential to climb and grip branches. The exact process through which humans ended up with much more rigid feet however is not fully understood.

As many as 1 in 13 of those tested were found to still possess the tendancy for the middle of the foot to bend more easily, a trait known as the 'midtarsal break' in apes. "The best way to see this is if you're walking on the beach and leaving footprints, the middle portion of your footprint would have a big ridge that might show your foot is actually folding in that area," said Dr DeSilva.

"Scientists have discovered that about one in thirteen people have flexible ape-like feet."

  View: Full article |  Source: BBC News

  Discuss: View comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin on 1 June, 2013, 4:19
Huh, interesting, though I guess it doesn't surprise me that much. What does surprise me is the "1 in 13". I would have thought it to be more common. Guess not. The issue with climbing trees makes sense. Almost seems like a lost adaptation, not that we need it now.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DieChecker on 1 June, 2013, 6:49
Maybe the people in or near Boston are just defective? But, seriously, that fact is kind of interesting and so now will take up another cell in my brain that I won't have for using at work anymore....
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 1 June, 2013, 6:52
You have more than one brain cell? Mine reduced to only one, so I have to be careful...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Yamato on 1 June, 2013, 9:03
Comment icon #5 Posted by captain pish on 2 June, 2013, 18:19
It would be interesting to see the stats and ethnicity of the participants.
Comment icon #6 Posted by calaf on 2 June, 2013, 22:15
Ooohh! You don't want to go there!
Comment icon #7 Posted by calaf on 2 June, 2013, 22:16
Nice. Hobbit feet?
Comment icon #8 Posted by chopmo on 2 June, 2013, 23:33
My feet have always been an odd design, But when spending your childhood playing in creeks ("the bush") jumping from rock to rock nd whatnot. You can expect to have agile feet. But the question is of 2; Did the feet adapt to the enviroment? Or was it the ape/hunter gatherer dna that made the children go into the wild? *Re-reading this it slightly comes off as a forest people society, lol! this is not the case, just our fun as young kids was adventuring through the wilderness and forgetting how far we had actually gone and rushing to try get home by night. To the point where I l... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by TxGoblin on 3 June, 2013, 0:31
I grew up just west of the international date line just north of the equator. A small island in the Pacific ocean. As a child I spent a lot of my time barefoot. Swimming, climbing trees (mostly Palms for the Coconuts) and wading in the shallows looking for shells. Looking back my feet worked a lot differently then than they do now. When climbing a tree I would put my soles against the trunk and cup them to get a better grip. Sometimes I would climb the palms, like the natives, by tying a string between my big toes and hopping up the trees. Now that I have worn shoes for more than 40 years I fi... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by DieChecker on 3 June, 2013, 2:54
That sounds very reasonable Goblin. The people with more flexible feet probably do activities to keep their feet flexible.

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