The foot of Homo naledi.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Harcourt-Smith, W E H; Throckmorton, Z; Congdon, K A; Zipfel, B; Deane, A S; Drapeau, M S M; Churchill, S E; Berger, L R; DeSilva, J M
Year of Publication: 2015
Journal: Nat Commun
Volume: 6
Pagination: 8432
Date Published: 2015
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 2041-1723
Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, Foot, Foot Bones, Fossils, Gorilla gorilla, Hominidae, Humans, Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus

Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains. Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism. However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo.

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9432
Alternate Journal: Nat Commun