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Top Story

Flat-footed competitors have fighting advantage

A heel-down posture--a feature that separates great apes, including humans, from other primates--confers advantages in fighting, according to a new study. Standing with heels planted allows more swinging force when fighting, says biologist David Carrier of the University of Utah, lead author of the study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. In contrast, many other species of mammals, including most primates, stand, walk and run with their heels elevated, and on the balls of their feet or toes, a posture important for quickness.

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