Human Evolution

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 193–200 | Cite as

Laetoli toes andAustralopithecus afarensis

  • R. H. Tuttle
  • D. M. Webb
  • M. Baksh
Article

Abstract

The probable misfit between feet, particularly toes II–V, of 3.0-million-year-oldAustralopithecus afarensis from Hadar, Ethiopia, and the 3.5-million-year-old hominid footprints at Site G, Laetoli, Tanzania, casts doubt thatA. Afarensis made the Laetoli trails. We suggest that another species ofAustralopithecus or an anonymous genus of the Hominidae, with remarkably humanoid feet, walked at Laetoli. It would be imprudent to declare thatHomo was present at Laetoli 3.5 million years ago (my) because there is no evidence of brain expansion, advanced tool manufacture, or other non-locomotor hallmarks of the human condition at Site G.

Key words

Laetoli footprints Australopithecus afarensis toes bipedalism hominid evolution 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander R. McN., 1984.Stride length and speed for adults, children, and fossil hominids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 63: 23–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonnefille R. &Riollet G., 1987.Palynological spectra from the Upper Laetolil Beds. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 52–61. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  3. Charteris J., Wall J.C. &Nottrodt J.W., 1981.Functional reconstruction of gait from the Pliocene hominid footprints at Laetoli, northern Tanzania. Nature, 290: 496–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Charteris J., Wall J.C. &Nottrodt J.W., 1982.Pliocene Hominid gait: new intepretations based on available footprint data from Laetoli. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 58: 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clarke R.J., 1979.Early hominid footprints from Tanzania. South African Journal of Science, 75: 148–149.Google Scholar
  6. Day M.H. &Wickens E.H., 1980.Laetoli Pliocene hominid footprints and bipedalism. Nature, 286: 385–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Drake R. &Curtis G.H., 1987.K-Ar geochronolgy of the Laetoli fossil localities. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 48–61. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  8. Harris J.M., 1985.Age and paleoecology of the upper Laetoli Beds, Laetoli, Tanzania. In: (Delson, E., Ed.) Ancestors: the hard evidence. pp. 76–81. Liss: New York.Google Scholar
  9. Harris J.M., 1987.Summary. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern tanzania, pp. 524–531. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  10. Hay R.L., 1978.Melilitite-carbonatite tuffs in the Laetoli Beds of Tanzania. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 67: 357–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hay R.L., 1987.Geology of the Laetoli area. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 23–47. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  12. Hay R.L. &Leakey M.D., 1982,The fossil footprints of Laetoli. Scientific American, 246: 50–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johanson D.C., White T.D. &Coppens Y., 1978.A new species of the genus Sustralopithecus (Primates: Hominidae) from the Pliocene of eastern Africa. Kirtlandia, 28: 1–14.Google Scholar
  14. Jungers W.L., 1982.Lucy's limbs: skeletal allometry and locomotion in Australopithecus afarensis. Nature, 297: 676–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jungers W.L. &Stern J.T., Jr., 1983.Body proportions, skeletal allometry and locomotion in the Hadar hominids: a reply to Wolpoff. Journal of Human Evolution, 12: 673–684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Latimer B. &Lovejoy, C.O., 1989.The calcaneus of Australopithecus afarensisand its implications for the evolution of bipedality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 78: 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Latimer B. &Lovejoy, C.O., 1990a.Hallucal tarsometarsal joint in Australopithecus afarensis. American journal of Physical Anthropology, 82: 125–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Latimer B. &Lovejoy, C.O., 1990b.Metatarsophalangeal joints of Australopithecus afarensis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 83: 13–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Latimer B., Ohman J.C. &Lovejoy C.O., 1987.Talocrural joint in African Hominoids: implications for Australopithecus afarensis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 74: 155–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leakey M.D., 1987a.The Laetoli hominid remains. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 108–117. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  21. Leakey M.D., 1987b.The hominid footprints. introduction. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 490–496. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  22. Leakey M.D. &Hay R.L., 1979.Pliocene footprints in the Laetoli Beds at Laetoli, northern Tanzania. Nature, 278: 317–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Reynlds T.R., 1983.Stride length of mammals, primates, humans and early hominids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 60: 244.Google Scholar
  24. Robbins L.M., 1987.Hominid footprints from Site G. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 497–502. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  25. Stern J.T., Jr. &Susman R.L., 1983.The locomotor anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 60: 279–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Susman R.L., Stern J.T., Jr. &Jungers W.L., 1984.Arboreality and bipedality in the Hadar hominids. Folia Primatologica, 43: 113–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Susman R.L., Stern J.T., Jr. &Jungers W.L., 1985.Locomotor adaptations in the Hadar hominids. In: (Delson, E., Ed.) Ancestors: the hard evidence, pp. 184–192. Liss: New York.Google Scholar
  28. Tuttle R.H., 1981.Evolution of Hominid bipedalism and prehensile capabilities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, B 292: 89–94.Google Scholar
  29. Tuttle R.H., 1985.Ape footprints and Laetoli impressions: a response to the SUNY claims. In:Hominid Evolution: Past, Present and Future (ed. Tobias, P.V.), pp. 129–133. Liss: New York.Google Scholar
  30. Tuttle R.H., 1987.Kinesiological interferences and evolutionary implications from Laetoli bipedal trails G-1, G2/3, and A. In: (M.D. Leakey, & J.M. Harris, Eds.) Laetoli: a Pliocene site in Northern Tanzania, pp. 503–523. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  31. Tuttle R.H., 1988.What's new in African paleoanthropology? Annual Review of Anthropology, 17: 391–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tuttle R.H., 1990.The pitted pattern of Laetoli feet. Natural History, 3/90, 60–65.Google Scholar
  33. Tuttle R.H., (in review)Hands from newt to Napier. Journal of Human Evolution.Google Scholar
  34. Tuttle R.H., Webb D., & Tuttle N.I., in press a.Laetoli footprint trails and the evolution of hominid bipedalism. In: (Y. Coppens, & B. Senut, Eds.) The origin(s) of bipedalism in hominids, pp. XXX-XXX C.N.R.S.: Paris.Google Scholar
  35. Tuttle R.H., Webb D., Tuttle N.I. & Baksh M., in press b.Footprints and gaits of bipedal apes, bears and barefoot people: perspectives on Pliocene tracks. In: (M. Goodman, H. Ishida, S. Matano, & R.H. Tuttle, Eds.) Symposia of the XIIIth Congress of the international Primatological Society, vol. 3, pp. XXX-XXX. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press.Google Scholar
  36. Tuttle R.H., Webb D., Weidl E. &Baksh M., 1990.Further progress on the Laetoli trails. Journal of Archaeological Science, 17: 347–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. White T.D., 1980.Evolutionary implications of Pliocene hominid footprints. Science, 208: 175–176.Google Scholar
  38. White T.D. &Suwa G., 1987.Hominid footprints at Laetoli: facts and interpretations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 72: 485–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Editrice Il Sedicesimo 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Tuttle
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. M. Webb
    • 3
  • M. Baksh
    • 4
  1. 1.the Committee on Evolutionary Biology, the Morris Fishbein Center for the Study of the History of Science and MedicineChicago
  2. 2.the College The University of ChicagoChicago
  3. 3.Department of Anthropology and SociologyKutztown UniversityKutztown
  4. 4.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles

Personalised recommendations