By David P. Evans MSc (Biomechanics), MD (auth.)
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Extra info for Backache: its Evolution and Conservative Treatment
Although the front limbs are adapted for grasping, four-footed locomotion is still the rule among primates. In some monkeys the tail has developed a prehensile power but in most it is used only as a balancer. Locomotion in the tree has left the skeleton ofthe primates in a condition much doser to that of the primitive placentals than is the case in most groups. In primitive mammals the thumb and big toes were presumably divergent and this grasping characteristic has in general been retained and emphasized in primates.
Among the non-human primates living today the pelvis and femur are adapted for four-footed walking. 8 In a quadrupedal primate the principal extensors of the trunk are the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus (from Napier, 1967) 42 BACKACHE: IT5 EVOLUTION AND CON5ERVATIVE TREATMENT bipedal stance the trunk must be extended on the hips and as soon as the forelimbs leave the ground the body's centre of gravity has to be brought back by flexing the knees. In order to alter a bent-hip, bent-knee gait into man's erect, striding walk a number of anatomical changes must occur.
This shortening, by bringing acetabulum and sacral surface together, is an important feature in stabilization of the pelvis in the erect, bipedal posture. However, the sacral surface is comparatively much smaller that it is in man, being quite like those of the Pongoidae in its relative size. There is a marked greater sciatic notch and a prominent ischial spine. The anterior inferior iliac spine is weil developed and this structure is supposed to be peculiarly related to the bipedal posture in man - particularly because of its association with the iliofemoralligament, which prevents femoral overextension in the erect posture.
Backache: its Evolution and Conservative Treatment by David P. Evans MSc (Biomechanics), MD (auth.)