Our Feet Are Fallible, But They Beat A Chimp's : Shots - Health News While we haven't overcome athlete's foot or bunions, human feet are one of evolution's most clever designs.
NPR logo

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128573578/128614368" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Our Feet Are Fallible, But They Beat A Chimp's

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

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/128573578/128614368" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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.