Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Lucy has what is called, "a rigid ankle and an arched non-grasping foot." Such a foot is described as being "functionally incompatible with tree climbing and thus definitive markers of terrestriality." I have to think that in this matter, it's the "thus" and the "definitive" that bugs the hell out of me. Clearly those who 'cleave' to the structure of a foot as definitive markers of anything do not get out very much, or watch the television, have never been to a circus and when they were little probably never climbed a tree or wondered what it might be like to fly because life for them begun in the fluff of a kindergarten. Fortunately for me, not all anthropologists are the same. Nathaniel Domini, clearly a man of genius, investigated the length of calf muscles in those of our species who spend a good deal of time climbing trees in search of food sources. He did this because he'd noticed that one technique for climbing trees of lesser circumference, requires an ability to embrace the tree with the arms and hands, place the sole of the foot flat against the trunk of the tree, then walk up the tree with arms and legs taking their turn to make progress. It's not something a person can do without a great deal of practice. I know this because when I was younger I once tried climbing for Jelly Nuts. But those who do practice long enough to master this tree climbing technique develop a longer calf muscle, which gives the 'definitive markers of terrestriality' a much greater ability to bend upward toward the shin. Nor do I begrudge Domini the expenditure of his universities resources on extensive world travel when he might just have easily travelled a few hundred miles south to the West Indies where climbing for Jelly Nuts is the first ingredient in rum cocktail.
pictures from : http://now.dartmouth.edu/2012/12/did-lucy-walk-on-the-ground-or-stay-in-the-trees/