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Human foot more flexible than thought: Study
Wednesday August 21, 2013 11:58 PM, IANS

The mechanisms of the human foot have much more in common with the flexible feet of apes, according to research published in proceedings of the Royal Society B Wednesday.

Earlier, researchers in the 1930s proposed that human feet functioned very differently to those of apes, due to the development of arches in the mid-foot region (medial arches) and rigidity of the arches on the outside edge of the foot (lateral arches), Xinhua reported.

In this new study, researchers at the University of Liverpool analysed more than 25,000 human steps on a pressure-sensitive treadmill.

The research has shown that despite abandoning life in the trees long ago, human feet retained a surprising amount of flexibility, the type seen in the feet of other great apes, such as orangutans and chimpanzees.

"We found that the range of pressure exerted under the human mid-foot, and the internal mechanisms that drive them, were highly variable, so much so that they actually overlapped with those made by the great apes," said professor Robin Crompton, one of the authors of the study.

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