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The big toe was one of the last parts of the foot to evolve, a new study has revealed.
A rigid toe allows us to walk and run upright, however, scientists say this bone structure evolved well after the rest of the toes in the human foot.
Findings - Humans - Years
The latest findings suggest that while early humans were able to walk upright for more than 4.4 million years, they did not start walking like we do until much later.
Until now, debate has raged over whether our earliest ancestors strode like modern humans or used a more awkward crouching stance like that of gorillas.
Scientists - Toe - Parts - Foot - Humans
Scientists believe the toe was one of the last parts of the foot to change because humans still needed it to grip when climbing trees.
'Our ability to efficiently walk and run on two feet, or be "bipedal", is a crucial feature that enabled humans to become what they are today,' lead author of the study Dr Peter Fernandez, from Marquette University in Milwaukee told BBC.
Everything - Foot - Bones - Demands - Bipedalism
'For everything to work together, the foot bones first had to evolve to accommodate the unique biomechanical demands of bipedalism.
'The big toe could still be used for grasping, as our ancestors spent a fair amount of their time in the trees, before becoming fully committed to walking on the ground,' said Dr Fernandez.
MailOnline - Researchers - Toe - Humans
MailOnline has contacted the researchers to find out exactly when they now believe the big toe evolved in early humans.
The latest findings suggest...
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