Navigation Links
Adapting to pregnancy played key role in human evolution, study shows
Date:12/13/2007

AUSTIN, TexasThe human spine evolved differently in males and females in order to alleviate back pressure from the weight of carrying a baby, according to research spearheaded at The University of Texas at Austin.

The lumbar differences are documented for the first time in the Dec. 13 issue of Nature.

The researchers believe the adaptation first appeared at least two million years ago, in the early human ancestor Australopithecus. The male-female difference does not appear in chimpanzees, meaning the evolution to walking upright led to the adaptation.

"Natural selection favored this adaptation because it reduces extra stress on a pregnant female's spine," said University of Texas at Austin anthropologist Liza Shapiro, who conducted the research with graduate student Katherine K. Whitcome, now a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. "Without the adaptation, pregnancy would have placed a heavier burden on back muscles, causing considerable pain and fatigue and possibly limiting foraging capacity and the ability to escape from predators."

Harvard anthropologist Daniel Lieberman also contributed to the study, which shows the key differences between males and females appear in the lower back, or lumbar portion of the spine.

Human spines have a unique forward curve in the lumbar region, but the curve extends across more vertebrae in females. That helps offset harmful forces that might occur on the spine when pregnant women lean back or hyperextend their spines to balance the weight of the fetus, Shapiro said. The joints between the vertebrae also are larger in females and angled differently than in males to better support the extra weight.

"Any mother can attest to the awkwardness of standing and walking while balancing pregnancy weight in front of the body," Shapiro said. "Yet our research shows their spines have evolved to make pregnancy safer and less painful than it might have been if these adaptations had not occurred."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liza Shapiro
liza.shapiro@mail.utexas.edu
512-471-4206
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. HIV therapy in pregnancy-data support WHO recommendations
2. Treating diabetes during pregnancy can break link to childhood obesity
3. Treating Diabetes During Pregnancy Could Lead to Thinner Kids
4. 15% of Women Struggle With Pregnancy-Related Depression
5. Pregnancy may increase the risk of developing binge eating disorder
6. Pregnancy may slow -- not accelerate -- progression to AIDS
7. Study indicates pregnancy does not harm chances of survival from cancer
8. Kaiser Permanente Study Shows One in Seven Women are Depressed Before, During, or After Pregnancy
9. IVF technique enables pregnancy without multiple births, Stanford researchers find
10. Maternal Mortality Declining in Middle-income Countries; Women Still Die in Pregnancy and Childbirth in Low-income Countries
11. Pancreas May Be Key to Pregnancy-Linked Diabetes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... Premier Fitness Camp (PFC) and The Chopra Center for Wellbeing announced today the ... their world headquarters of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego. , ... loss, personal development, a healthy lifestyle, or mental and physical healing. The week-long wellness ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STAT courier is pleased to announce that due to customer ... are expanding their presence in Dallas. One of the most exciting parts for STAT ... to the Dallas and Forth Worth market. STAT takes pride in treating their employees ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... AR (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... insurance and financial planning services from offices headquartered in Little Rock, has initiated ... Pantry. , According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, Arkansas ranks ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... MS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... The ... serve commercial and residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is announcing ... the Hancock County Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked for ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... passage of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than ... the President, and the commitment of our elected officials to improving mental health ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... CITY , Dec. 8, 2016 ... US patents for improving the accuracy, reproducibility and ... images in long and small bone orthopaedic applications. ... approach to creating personalized orthopaedic restorations based on ... personalized orthopaedic restorations, the company harnesses the world,s ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Dec. 8, 2016  A new study by a ... use of opioid therapy to treat chronic pain is ... of more harmful consequences, including death. Palliative ... Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored the study which ... opioid therapy. The study was published in the December ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Information products and services provider ... Scopus , the world,s largest abstract and citation database of ... for journals from over 5,000 publishers. The new set of metrics ... to and when to adjust a journal,s editorial strategy. ... , , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: