Laboratory: Feet

The stations in this lab will introduce one of the best-known species of fossil hominins, evidence of bipedal locomotion early in our evolution, some basic anthropometric measurements, and the anatomy of the femur.

Walking upright is a basic feature of humanity, which sets our family apart from other primates. Our way of walking is supported by many changes in our skeletons, especially the legs and feet. Some features are such distinctive evidence of bipedality that finding only a fragment of a fossil bone that preserves them is enough to show the fossil is one of our relatives.

Goals

  1. Measure your own stature along with some other dimensions of your body. This is a graded exercise.
  2. Learn the basic anatomy of the femur and practice determining right versus left femora.
  3. Create and examine footprints, comparing them with casts of the Laetoli hominin footprints.
  4. Encounter casts of the skeletal remains of Australopithecus boisei.