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Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 13; 112(2):366-71.PN

Abstract

Humans are unique, compared with our closest living relatives (chimpanzees) and early fossil hominins, in having an enlarged body size and lower limb joint surfaces in combination with a relatively gracile skeleton (i.e., lower bone mass for our body size). Some analyses have observed that in at least a few anatomical regions modern humans today appear to have relatively low trabecular density, but little is known about how that density varies throughout the human skeleton and across species or how and when the present trabecular patterns emerged over the course of human evolution. Here, we test the hypotheses that (i) recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the upper and lower limbs compared with other primate taxa and (ii) the reduction in trabecular density first occurred in early Homo erectus, consistent with the shift toward a modern human locomotor anatomy, or more recently in concert with diaphyseal gracilization in Holocene humans. We used peripheral quantitative CT and microtomography to measure trabecular bone of limb epiphyses (long bone articular ends) in modern humans and chimpanzees and in fossil hominins attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus/early Homo from Swartkrans, Homo neanderthalensis, and early Homo sapiens. Results show that only recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the limb joints. Extinct hominins, including pre-Holocene Homo sapiens, retain the high levels seen in nonhuman primates. Thus, the low trabecular density of the recent modern human skeleton evolved late in our evolutionary history, potentially resulting from increased sedentism and reliance on technological and cultural innovations.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052; Human Origins Program, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560; habibachirchir@gmail.com brichmond@amnh.org.Animal Postcranial Evolution Laboratory, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, United Kingdom; Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany;Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205;Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany;Evolutionary Studies Institute, The University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein 2000 Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405; and.Evolutionary Studies Institute, The University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein 2000 Johannesburg, South Africa;Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052; Human Origins Program, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560; Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024 habibachirchir@gmail.com brichmond@amnh.org.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25535354

Citation

Chirchir, Habiba, et al. "Recent Origin of Low Trabecular Bone Density in Modern Humans." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 112, no. 2, 2015, pp. 366-71.
Chirchir H, Kivell TL, Ruff CB, et al. Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112(2):366-71.
Chirchir, H., Kivell, T. L., Ruff, C. B., Hublin, J. J., Carlson, K. J., Zipfel, B., & Richmond, B. G. (2015). Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(2), 366-71. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1411696112
Chirchir H, et al. Recent Origin of Low Trabecular Bone Density in Modern Humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 13;112(2):366-71. PubMed PMID: 25535354.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans. AU - Chirchir,Habiba, AU - Kivell,Tracy L, AU - Ruff,Christopher B, AU - Hublin,Jean-Jacques, AU - Carlson,Kristian J, AU - Zipfel,Bernhard, AU - Richmond,Brian G, Y1 - 2014/12/22/ PY - 2014/12/24/entrez PY - 2014/12/24/pubmed PY - 2015/5/1/medline KW - Homo sapiens KW - gracilization KW - human evolution KW - sedentism KW - trabecular bone SP - 366 EP - 71 JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America JO - Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A VL - 112 IS - 2 N2 - Humans are unique, compared with our closest living relatives (chimpanzees) and early fossil hominins, in having an enlarged body size and lower limb joint surfaces in combination with a relatively gracile skeleton (i.e., lower bone mass for our body size). Some analyses have observed that in at least a few anatomical regions modern humans today appear to have relatively low trabecular density, but little is known about how that density varies throughout the human skeleton and across species or how and when the present trabecular patterns emerged over the course of human evolution. Here, we test the hypotheses that (i) recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the upper and lower limbs compared with other primate taxa and (ii) the reduction in trabecular density first occurred in early Homo erectus, consistent with the shift toward a modern human locomotor anatomy, or more recently in concert with diaphyseal gracilization in Holocene humans. We used peripheral quantitative CT and microtomography to measure trabecular bone of limb epiphyses (long bone articular ends) in modern humans and chimpanzees and in fossil hominins attributed to Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus/early Homo from Swartkrans, Homo neanderthalensis, and early Homo sapiens. Results show that only recent modern humans have low trabecular density throughout the limb joints. Extinct hominins, including pre-Holocene Homo sapiens, retain the high levels seen in nonhuman primates. Thus, the low trabecular density of the recent modern human skeleton evolved late in our evolutionary history, potentially resulting from increased sedentism and reliance on technological and cultural innovations. SN - 1091-6490 UR - https://wwww.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25535354/Recent_origin_of_low_trabecular_bone_density_in_modern_humans_ L2 - http://www.pnas.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=25535354 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -