You’ve Got Chimp Feet. Maybe.

03Well, I’ll be a monkey’s podiatrist…

Via New Scientist:

YOU may be walking on chimp-like feet without knowing it. At least 1 in 13 of us have feet that are specially adapted for climbing trees.

Textbooks will tell you that the human foot is rigid, which allows more efficient walking. Other apes, in contrast, have flexible feet better suited to grasping branches as they move through the trees. But the textbooks are wrong, say Jeremy DeSilva and Simone Gill at Boston University.

The pair asked 400 adults to walk barefoot around the Boston Museum of Science while they filmed their feet. This revealed that 8 per cent of people have some mid-foot flexibility, rather like that seen in tree-dwelling apes (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, In another, soon-to-be-published analysis, Robin Huw Crompton at the University of Liverpool, UK, found that a flexible mid-foot may be even more common than DeSilva and Gill suggest.

So what does a flexible foot look like? It bends at the ball of the foot, and also halfway between the heel and the ball. All human feet have a joint at this point – but in most of us, stiff ligaments span the joint and keep it rigid. In some people, however, the ligaments are softer, allowing the mid-foot to bend. Close-ups of flexible feet as they unroll during walking make the bend obvious, but DeSilva says their owners were not aware of anything unusual, nor was their gait any different. “I was, and continue to be, surprised by this,” he says.

Put down the damned banana and read the rest of the article.

6 Comments on "You’ve Got Chimp Feet. Maybe."

  1. Ted Heistman | May 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm |

    That’s the way sasquatch feet are!

  2. emperorreagan | May 30, 2013 at 9:15 pm |

    I’ve always had very flexible feet, started wearing those Vibram 5 finger shoes and have even more flexibility now. I wonder how much having ones feet crushed in modern foot wear destroys the flexibility.

    • BuzzCoastin | May 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm |

      when I lived in Hawaii I used to hike barefoot
      (it took me about a year to get over my haole prejudice against bare feet)
      once while hiking out of Kalalau Valley my boots blew out
      and I had to hike 10 miles barefoot
      it was then that I realized how unhelpful shoes are
      and how well adapted the foot is when bare

    • Adamas Macalz | May 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm |

      That’s pretty much all I wear now, other than going barefoot

  3. BuzzCoastin | May 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm |

    there also seems to a large number with chimp brains too

  4. Liam_McGonagle | May 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |

    Just another bullsh*t smoke screen for scheisters posing as scientists to get off on their pervy foot fetishes.

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