Dr. Laura Gruss


Assistant Professor
Office: 171 Center for the Sciences
Lab: 167 Center for the Sciences
Box 6931, Radford University
Radford, VA 24142
Tel: (540) 831-5143
E-mail: lgruss@radford.edu


Courses Taught:

BIOL 322: Human anatomy and physiology


I'm interested in human evolution, especially the evolution of human walking.  I take an experimental approach: by studying the biomechanics of walking in modern human subjects, using a force plate and three-dimensional movement analysis software, we can make some inferences about the way our ancestors moved.  In the past I have focused on how locomotor biomechanics may have changed over time as the body proportions of our ancestors changed during the last two million years (for example, early species of Homo were tall with narrow bodies and very long legs, whereas Neandertals were short and wide with short limbs).  More recently I've been considering the importance of infant carrying in human evolution, and have investigated how different ways of carrying a baby (in the arms, in a sling) affect locomotor biomechanics in women.  In the near future I plan to look at what happens when older children carry infants, since big siblings (especially sisters) all over the world carry their baby siblings around, and the same has probably been true throughout human history.