Testing the big toe theory
I went to the woods today to climb a tree. I found one that had some branches at various levels in contrast with a bare trunk that would be too hard for me in my condition.
In my mind, I was an ancient hominin. Do I have to take my shoes off?
When I climb a tree, I grasp a limb above my head as far as I can reach. Then I pull upward and put my feet on any stub that will provide leverage. I usually use the side of my foot or insole.
I can’t ever think of climbing a tree with my big toe.
I tried to muster some auto reflexes to see if my big toe would attempt to take the lead and I got nothing.
So, there you have it. The toe didn’t go.
“How did humans evolve to walk upright? Fossil discovery complicates the picture.
Foot bones unearthed recently in Ethiopia belonged to a contemporary of 'Lucy,' the 3.2-million-year-old early human discovered in 1974. But these bones seem to belong to a different species, one thought to have split its time between walking upright and climbing trees.
A few million years ago, our ancestors stopped climbing trees and started walking upright, on two feet. To work out how and when this happened, researchers look for fossils -- and recently they found a surprising set of foot bones in Ethiopia. The foot is about 3.4 million years old, making it roughly the same age as 'Lucy' and her species, Australopithecus afarensis. But while Lucy's species had feet much like modern humans, the new foot has an opposable big toe, like a chimp. So do the foot bones represent a new species of hominin? Watch the video and decide.
Discovered in Burtele, Ethiopia, recently unearthed right foot bones are about 3.4 million years old and is thought to belong to a new species. The stiff joints of foot and toe bones suggest that the early hominin was capable of bending its foot upward to enable walking. The thumb-like big toe, however, would have helped it to also climb trees, like African great apes.”