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Dynamic Plantar Pressure Distribution during Locomotion in Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata)

Hirasaki, E., Higurashi, Y. & Kumakura, H.

To better place the form and motion of the human foot in an evolutionary context, understanding how foot motions change when quadrupeds walk bipedally can be informative. For this purpose, we compared the pressures beneath the foot during bipedal and quadrupedal walking in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). The pressure at nine plantar regions was recorded using a pressure mat (120 Hz), while the animals walked on a level walkway at their preferred speeds. The results revealed substantial differences in foot use between the two modes of locomotion, and some features observed during bipedal walking resembled human gait, such as the medial transfer of the center of pressure (COP), abrupt declines in forefoot pressures, and the increased pressure beneath the hallux, all occurring during the late-stance phase. In particular, the medial transfer of the COP, which is also observed in bonobos (Vereecke et al.: Am J Phys Anthropol 120 (2003) 373–383), was due to a biomechanical requirement for a hind limb dominant gait, such as bipedal walking. Features shared by bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion that were quite different from human locomotion were also observed: the heel never contacted the ground, a foot longitudinal arch was absent, the hallux was widely abducted, and the functional axis was on the third digit, not the second.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology 142 (1): 149–156


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