Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Dynamic finite-element simulations reveal early origin of complex human birth pattern


Frémondière, Pierre; Thollon, Lionel; Marchal, François; Fornai, Cinzia; Webb, Nicole M; Haeusler, Martin (2022). Dynamic finite-element simulations reveal early origin of complex human birth pattern. Communications Biology, 5:377.

Abstract

Human infants are born neurologically immature, potentially owing to conflicting selection pressures between bipedal locomotion and encephalization as suggested by the obstetrical dilemma hypothesis. Australopithecines are ideal for investigating this trade-off, having a bipedally adapted pelvis, yet relatively small brains. Our finite-element birth simulations indicate that rotational birth cannot be inferred from bony morphology alone. Based on a range of pelvic reconstructions and fetal head sizes, our simulations further imply that australopithecines, like humans, gave birth to immature, secondary altricial newborns with head sizes smaller than those predicted for non-human primates of the same body size especially when soft tissue thickness is adequately approximated. We conclude that australopithecines required cooperative breeding to care for their secondary altricial infants. These prerequisites for advanced cognitive development therefore seem to have been corollary to skeletal adaptations for bipedal locomotion that preceded the appearance of the genus Homo and the increase in encephalization.

Abstract

Human infants are born neurologically immature, potentially owing to conflicting selection pressures between bipedal locomotion and encephalization as suggested by the obstetrical dilemma hypothesis. Australopithecines are ideal for investigating this trade-off, having a bipedally adapted pelvis, yet relatively small brains. Our finite-element birth simulations indicate that rotational birth cannot be inferred from bony morphology alone. Based on a range of pelvic reconstructions and fetal head sizes, our simulations further imply that australopithecines, like humans, gave birth to immature, secondary altricial newborns with head sizes smaller than those predicted for non-human primates of the same body size especially when soft tissue thickness is adequately approximated. We conclude that australopithecines required cooperative breeding to care for their secondary altricial infants. These prerequisites for advanced cognitive development therefore seem to have been corollary to skeletal adaptations for bipedal locomotion that preceded the appearance of the genus Homo and the increase in encephalization.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
9 citations in Web of Science®
9 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

12 downloads since deposited on 09 Jan 2023
5 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Medicine (miscellaneous)
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Medicine (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:19 April 2022
Deposited On:09 Jan 2023 10:32
Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2399-3642
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03321-z
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/225965/
PubMed ID:35440693
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)