As the spine developed in curves, it became stressed at certain points, resulting in such conditions as lordosis (swayed backs), kyphosis (rounded upper back or hunch back) and scoliosis (sideway curve).
The spine also takes a beating from how people walkone foot forward at a time with the opposite side arm swinging in step.
"This creates a twisting motion that, after millions of twists over time, the discs between the vertebrae begin to wear out and break down resulting in herniated discs. In addition, age related bone loss (osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease, ) also a human condition, further complicates problems, Latimer explained.
Few early species of ancient human hominids lived beyond 50 years. Most died between 30 and 40, Latimer said. The human body really takes a physical beating, and most people will struggle with some kind of pain as the body ages.
"The original design specs for the human body were designed to last about 40 years," he said.
Other talks in "The Scars of Human Evolution" session include Rachel Caspari from Central Michigan University on the consequences of living longer; Jeremy DeSilva, Boston University, on problems with the human feet; Alan Mann, Princeton University, on the evolution of head and jaw; and William Leonard, Northwestern University, on nutritional health and evolution. Caspari and Karen Rosenberg, University of Delaware, organized the panel. Responding to the talks will be Milford Wolpoff, University of Michigan, and Matt Cartmill, Boston University.
|Contact: Susan Griffith|
Case Western Reserve University