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The Biomechanical and Energetic Advantages of a Mediolaterally Wide Pelvis in Women

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Here, we argue that two key shifts in thinking are required to more clearly understand the selection pressures shaping pelvis evolution in female hominins: (1) the primary locomotor mode of female hominins was loaded walking in the company of others, and (2) the periodic gait of human walking is most effectively explained as a biomechanically controlled process related to heel‐strike collisions that is tuned for economy and stability by properly‐timed motor inputs (a model called dynamic walking). In the light of these two frameworks, the evidence supports differences between female and male upper‐pelvic morphology being the result of the unique reproductive role of female hominins, which involved moderately paced, loaded walking in groups. Anat Rec, 300:764–775, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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Keywords: dynamic walking; load carrying; obstetrical dilemma; pelvis; sexual dimorphism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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