Your Health

Our Feet Are Fallible, But They Beat A Chimp's

If you've ever had reason to curse your feet — say, after a day at the mall, an evening in high heels or a lengthy jog — you might keep in mind that they are a whole lot better at doing what we need them to do than a chimp's feet.

Our ancestors had something like a chimp's foot. It was flat and flexible, made for grasping tree limbs. But it didn't take them very far.

How evolution gave us the one-of-a-kind human foot we have — taut and more efficient for walking than any other primate's foot — is the subject of the next story in our “Human Edge” series on human evolution.

You'll find out that the tendons in your foot give you an arch that acts like a spring, returning energy to your body with every step you take. You'll learn to appreciate that big toe, warts and all, because it means you can run.

True, evolution hasn't taken us beyond athlete's foot or hangnails or bunions.

But human feet remain one of evolution's finest designs. Without them, we'd just be bootless.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.