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People Actually Studied This?

Three researchers did a study and found that a woman's back helps her adjust her center of gravity, which prevents her from falling forward while she's pregnant. Sheesh, any woman who has been pregnant could have told them that.

With all that growing weight up front, how is it that pregnant women don't lose their balance and topple over? Scientists think they've found the answer: There's are slight differences between women and men in one lower back vertebrae and a joint in the hip, which allow women to adjust their center of gravity. This elegant evolutionary engineering is seen only in female humans and our immediate ancestors who walked on two feet, but not in chimps and apes, according to a study published in Thursday's journal Nature. "That's a big load that's pulling you forward," said Liza Shapiro, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas and the only one of the study's three authors who has actually been pregnant. "You experience discomfort. Maybe it would be a lot worse if (the design changes) were not there." Harvard anthropology researcher Katherine Whitcomb found two physical differences in male and female backs that until now had gone unnoticed: One lower lumbar vertebrae is wedged-shaped in women and more square in men; and a key hip joint is 14 percent larger in women than men when body size is taken into account. The researchers did engineering tests that show how those slight changes allow women to carry the additional and growing load without toppling over - and typically without disabling back pain.

Also, a woman's lower back is curved in a little more as opposed to a man's back, which is straight, allowing her to shift her weight to accommodate her pregnant belly. This isn't foolproof, though. I fell on my stomach when I was seven months pregnant with my daughter. Thank goodness the amniotic fluid acts as an amazing shock absorber.


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Comments (10)

Thank God (oops!) for rando... (Below threshold)

Thank God (oops!) for random evolutionary advances!

My daughter who is in her 7... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

My daughter who is in her 7th month knows this.
It is studied because men don't get pregnant and wonder why this happens.
Just as men have no clue of carrying to term or what involves birth..
I passed on to my son-in-law something simple
1. During her pregnancy you are always wrong.
2. Massage her feet and toes.

With the birth of this daughter my wife was hooked up to an IU monitor. This gave a printout of contractions. Being the good father I offered her words of encouragement when a contraction diminished. I said "It's going down babe...a piece of cake." She squeezed my fingers hard enough to dislocate one and said
She also told me..."giving birth is like a bowling ball coming out of your urethra ."

The pregnancy and the birth of our two children taught me one important lesson. Men should stay away from value judgments involving a process we have no clue about.
Kim, we may disagree on many issues...but I will stay away from your experience on this...

My biggest question is: Wh... (Below threshold)

My biggest question is: Who PAID for this study?

I'm afraid I know the answer.

I remember back in the late 1970's, Johnny Carson had a guest on The Tonight Show, a professor who had received a $100,000 federal grant to study the migratory habits of Moroccan bats. Carson asked him, "Just what is the significance of studying the migratory patterns of Moroccan bats?"

The man answered, "I really have no idea. I was commissioned to study the migrations, not what significance studying them might have."

After the laughter subsided, he added, " . . . but if you could get me a grant, I'd be happy to look into it."

Around the same time, there was a $250,000 grant to research why young children fall off tricycles. The findings: either they try to turn too fast, or they run into something. I could have told 'em that for half the price . . .

Darn, it seems every time E... (Below threshold)

Darn, it seems every time Evolutionists want to compliment something spectacular in any biological field they use that interesting term - "Design". Then they bligthly gone right on past and ingnore the point that a design inherently bespeaks a "Designer". So sad.

I think that the bit about ... (Below threshold)

I think that the bit about our spine actually being different and that this isn't the case in other primates is really interesting.

The way the article is written makes it sound so dumb. We *know* that women change their center of balance and it involves our lower backs. That's a big "duh." That the vertebrae are specially adapted in women to do this is what's news about it.

I would have expected men and women to have the same adaptation (just like men have nipples) so the fact they don't is interesting too.

And it makes me wonder if this is part of the reason men so often put their backs out and women don't tend to do that so often.

And in a related finding, s... (Below threshold)

And in a related finding, scientist have figured out that women's vaginas are evolutionary adaptations from penises, because originally women gave birth through their ass.

Your assumption is that man came from chimps or apes...right Bonzo?

I am still trying to figure out what single-celled amoeba these so-called scientists evolved from. Who said that the hip evolved. Show me an early woman that did not have this. What stops all the guys with beer guts from toppling over?

BigShot, I'm no engineer or... (Below threshold)

BigShot, I'm no engineer or physiologist, but I'm betting that the weight of the beer gut is counterbalanced by the fat ass that usually comes with it.


"And it makes me wonder ... (Below threshold)

"And it makes me wonder if this is part of the reason men so often put their backs out and women don't tend to do that so often."

That's an interesting side-point. It does indeed seem to me that men put their backs out far more often than women. Is it because women are better equipped?

Maybe this explains why guy... (Below threshold)
ignorant peasant:

Maybe this explains why guys LOVE to look at women walking in high-heel shoes ... we're subsconsciously admiring their adaptation to child-bearing.

Few of the articles on this... (Below threshold)
Macrobots Author Profile Page:

Few of the articles on this study mention the really important finding: Lumbar vertebrae have slightly different shapes in men and women.

That might not sound like much but it has actual, real-world applications. For example, forensic workers faced with fragmentary human remains can do some quick angle measurements on the lumbar vertebrae to find out if the deceased was male or female -- without waiting for a laboratory to do genetic work.






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