PhD project: Functional morphology of the hip and knee joints in apes and humans
The timing and circumstances surrounding the evolution of bipedalism are central questions in human evolutionary studies. In particular, under what ecological circumstances did selection for habitual terrestrial bipedalism occur? Research on the external bony morphology of the skeletons of early hominins, and specifically the australopithecines (fossil human relatives from 4 to 2 million years ago), has led to debates as to whether these hominins walked with a chimpanzee-like gait (bent-hip, bent-knee) or a modern human-like gait (extended hips and knees). Leoni’s research project employs microtomography and bone structure analysis to examine what the internal morphology of limb bones, which remodel during life to reflect locomotory behaviour, can tell us about how australopithecines and other fossil humans used their lower limbs during locomotion.
University of Kent 50th Anniversary Research Scholarship