Femoral/humeral strength in early African Homo erectus.
Lower-to-upper limb-bone proportions give valuable clues to locomotor behavior in fossil taxa. However, to date only external linear dimensions have been included in such analyses of early hominins. In this study, cross-sectional measures of femoral and humeral diaphyseal strength are determined for the two most complete early Homo erectus (or ergaster) associated skeletons--the juvenile KNM-WT 15000 and the adult KNM-ER 1808. Modern comparative samples include an adult human skeletal sample representative of diverse body shapes, a human longitudinal growth series, and an adult chimpanzee sample. When compared to appropriately age-matched samples, both H. erectus specimens fall very close to modern human mean proportions and far from chimpanzee proportions (which do not overlap with those of humans). This implies very similar mechanical load-sharing between the lower and upper limbs, and by implication, similar locomotor behavior in early H. erectus and modern humans. Thus, by the earliest Pleistocene (1.7 Ma), completely modern patterns of bipedal behavior were fully established in at least one early hominin taxon.