Ancestral aches? An assessment of the relationship between bipedal locomotion, primate vertebral shape and human spinal health

The project will investigate the relationship between evolutionary adaptations to upright posture and the occurrence of common back problems in humans. It will use three-dimensional shape analysis techniques to investigate the vertebral shape of both humans and apes, as well as their fossil ancestors. It will also use motion capture technology to explore the relationship between human locomotion, vertebral morphology, and spinal health. The aim of this research is to identify shape characteristics of vertebrae related to human locomotion and explore any relationship between these characteristics and the presence or absence of common spinal lesions. If successful, the results will provide information on possible causes of intervertebral disc herniations and spinal osteoarthritis. This would benefit the industry partner by providing important insight into why certain individuals are afflicted by back problems which would allow new understanding of how to prevent or treat common back issues.

Kimberly Plomp
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. Mark Collard
Project Year: 
British Columbia