• The ontogeny of bipedalism: insights from the study of talar growth
  • Figus, Carla <1987>


  • BIO/08 Antropologia


  • The development of bipedal locomotion was gradual during evolution, and with the increase in discoveries of fossils and, in particular, in discoveries of pedal bones, the attention to this problematic has grown in the last decades. Moreover, the discoveries of juveniles fossil foot bones has led the attention to the evolution and the development of bipedal locomotion. The study of the development of human gait in children may help in shedding light to the development of human locomotion. The human talus plays a pivotal role, linking the leg to the foot and receiving and distributing the weight, while permitting a wide range of foot movements. It is also present at birth, and this makes a perfect bone to study to disentangle how the bone structure acts to cope with the changes in locomotion and body weight. Here, I analyze the external and internal morphology of the human talus from the perinatal period to adolescence, to investigate how the different phases of the acquisition of bipedal gait affect talar morphology, and how the bone copes with the weight gain during growth. Results show that the talar internal and external morphologies change in line with the different activities and loading of the foot. Initially, at around birth, the talus has a very globular and immature external shape, with a very dense trabecular architecture, composed of thin, numerous, and densely packed trabeculae, with a rather isotropic structure. External and internal morphologies change in relation to the different loading patterns which follow during growth, showing a more specialized structure, both in the external and internal morphology, linked to the maturation of bipedal locomotion, until the adult-like pattern is reached, during adolescence.


  • 2021-06-11


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Figus, Carla (2021) The ontogeny of bipedalism: insights from the study of talar growth, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Studi sul patrimonio culturale / cultural heritage studies , 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9674.