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:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the ... AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in ... topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice infestation, as reported by ... lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, and to infest common ... the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , As lice are a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice Emergency Room ... Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. ... of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a ... area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether it’s a matter ... bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, those who set ... , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency to set low ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) ... would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health ... and coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of ... label, a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , ... California -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able ... PFT devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... testing done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... According to a new market ... Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, ... of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts ... market for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. ... by 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: