Anatomy of Bipedalism

  • Relocation of foramen magnum

  • Lower/upper spine curvature

  • Restructuring of rib cage

  • Rearrangement of musculature

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Bipedalism requires significant changes to the thoracic skeletal system. The foramen magnum must be relocated from the back of the skull to the base of the skull since the skull must be perpendicular to the spinal column. The upper and lower spine of bipedal creatures must be curved to absorb the shock of the bipedal gate. In contrast, the spine of apes is nearly straight. In addition, the rib cage of bipeds is barrel shaped, in contrast to the inverted V-shape of the apes. The muscles that attach to these bones must be restructured to accommodate the skeletal changes.


Definitions

Foramen magnum
The area where the spine joins the skull.

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Last Modified June 21, 2006

 

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