Toe bone puts a humanlike arch in ancient hominid's step
A tiny 3.2-million-year-old fossil found in East Africa gives Lucy’s kind an unprecedented toehold on humanlike walking.
Australopithecus afarensis, an ancient hominid species best known for a partial female skeleton called Lucy, had stiff foot arches like those of people today, say anthropologist Carol Ward of the University of Missouri in Columbia and her colleagues. A bone from the fourth toe — the first such A. afarensis fossil unearthed — provides crucial evidence that bends in this species’ feet supported and cushioned a two-legged stride, the scientists report in the Feb. 11 Science.
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