Steudel’s research focuses on the relationship
between structure and performance in mammalian locomotion
and in applying the results of those studies to our
understanding of the locomotion of fossil hominins. Much
past work in deducing function from structure in
fossils has involved making assumptions about the
biomechanical consequences of variations in bone
structure. Yet, when performance is directly
correlated with aspects of morphology and physiology,
these assumptions are not always supported. A
major focus of work in this laboratory involves grounding
the assessment of adaptations in fossils in a much
more rigorous context than had been done previously.
Other work has included further contributions to
the discussion of the role of locomotor energetics
in the evolution of bipedal posture and locomotion
and in patterns of group movement in non-human primates. I
recently completed a series of experiments documenting
variation in the cost of both walking and running
in modern humans related to limb length, stature,
mass and % fat. Relatively longer limbs result
in lower locomotor costs in both walking and running
speeds. The short limbs of Australopithecus would
have been very energetically costly. The fact
that the short limbs were retained for at least a
million years suggests that these hominids may have
retained an arboreal adaptation. The relatively
short limbed Neanderthals would have had costs of
walking approximately 30% larger than the anatomically
modern humans that replaced them. I am also
looking at kinematic data to try to understand the
basis for the economy of human walking and for why
shorter limbs are more energetically costly.
Mike is working with me on determining whether there are gender
differences in the energetic cost of human walking, whether leg length is important
in maximum running speed or in resting metabolic rate, and methodological issues
in measuring the cost of various activities.
Lisa is investigating pendular interactions between the forelimb
and hindlimb in human walking with applications to
Steudel-Numbers, K. and C. Wall-Scheffler (2009) Optimal running speed and the evolution of hominin hunting strategies. Journal of Human Evolution 56:355-360.
Steudel-Numbers, K., T.Weaver and C.M. Wall-Scheffler (2007).
The Evolution of Human Running: Effects of Changes in Lower
Limb Length on Locomotor Economy. J. Hum. Evol. 53:191-6.
Tilkens, M., C. Wall-Scheffler, T.D. Weaver and K. Steudel-Numbers (2007). The effects of body proportions on thermoregulation: An experimental approach. J. Hum. Evol. 53: 286-291.
Geiger, K., and Steudel-Numbers, K. (2007). Infant
Carrying: The role of increased locomotory costs in
early tool development. American Journal of Physical Anthropology
K. (2006) Energetics in Homo erectus and other early hominins:
the consequences of increased lower limb length. J. Hum Evol.
C.M., Myers, M.J. and Steudel-Numbers, K. (2006) The application
to bipeds of a geometric model of lower-limb-segment inertial
properties. J. Hum. Evol. 51(3): 320-326.
K. and Weaver, T.D. (2006 ) Froude
Number Corrections in Anthropological Studies. Am. J. Phys.
Anthrop. 131(1): 27-32.
Weaver, T. and K.
Steudel-Numbers (2005) Does climate or mobility explain the
differences in body proportions between Neandertals and their
Upper Paleolithic successors? Evol. Anthropol. 14:
K. and M. Tilkens. 2004. The effect of lower limb length
on the energetic cost of locomotion: Implications for fossil
J. Hum. Evol. 47: 95-109.
K. 2003. The energetic cost of locomotion: Human and primates
compared to generalized endotherms. J. Hum. Evol. 44: 255-262.
Harris, M and K
Steudel. 2002. The relationship between maximum jumping performance
and hindlimb morphology/physiology in domestic cats (Felix
silvestris catus). J. Exp. Biol. 205: 3877-3889.
K. 2001. The role of locomotor economy in the origin of bipedal
posture and gait. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 116: 171-173.
K. 2000. The physiology and energetics of movement:
effects on individuals and groups. In: S. Boinski and P.
Garber (eds.) Group Movement: Patterns, Processes and Cognitive
Implications in Primates and Other Animals. U. Chicago
Press. (refereed book chapter)
Harris, M. and
K. Steudel. 1997. The selection of hind limb length in the Carnivora:
the influence of daily movement distance, home range area, prey
size, latitude, and prey capture method. J. Zool.,
Lond. 241: 381-408.
Myers, M.J. and
K. Steudel. 1997. Morphological conservation of limb natural
pendular period in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris):
Implications for locomotor energetics. J. Morphol. 234:183-196
Harris, M.A. and
K. Steudel. 1998. The relationship between maximal jumping performance
and hindlimb morphology in domestic cats (Felis sylvestris catus).
Am. Zool. 38: 35A
Myers, M.J., A.J.
Walker and K. Steudel. 1996. Comparison of three methods of
determining lower limb natural pendular periods. Med. Sci.
Sports Exer. 28: S46.