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KA Plomp, US Viðarsdóttir, DA Weston, K Dobney and M Collard
Abstract
Recent studies suggest there is a relationship between intervertebral disc herniation and vertebral shape. The nature of this relationship is unclear, however. Humans are more commonly afflicted with spinal disease than are non-human primates and one suggested explanation for this is the stress placed on the spine by bipedalism. With this in mind, we carried out a study of human, chimpanzee, and orangutan vertebrae to examine the links between vertebral shape, locomotion, and Schmorl’s nodes, which are bony indicators of vertical intervertebral disc herniation. We tested the hypothesis that vertical disc herniation preferentially affects individuals with vertebrae that are towards the ancestral end of the range of shape variation within Homo sapiens and therefore are less well adapted for bipedalism.
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Concepts
Chimpanzee, Primate, Spinal disc herniation, Human evolution, Hominidae, Vertebral column, Intervertebral disc, Human
MeSH headings
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