The awards best known for honoring scientists doing “improbable research” have picked a doctor’s study on why pregnant don’t tip over as a winner in this year’s Ig Nobel awards.
Grabbing the honor for the physics prize were Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, whose study “Fetal Load and the Evolution of Lumbar Lordosis in Bipedal Hominins,” was published in Dec. 2007 in the Journal of Nature.
As a once pregnant woman, I’ve got to admit the question has merit – your entire center of gravity is off thanks to that fetal load (really wish I’d know that term when I was preggers – sounds so much better than “thing hanging under my growing boobs”).
So what’s the answer? Straight from the research: “human females have evolved a derived curvature and reinforcement of the lumbar vertebrae to compensate for this bipedal obstetric load.” Which is fancy shcmany scientific talk for “because woman are highly evolved creatures,” right?
The Ig Nobel awards are given for research that makes people laugh . . . and then think. This one sounds more qualified than most.
Congrats to the winners – and to all you pregnant women who have managed not to tip over. It’s hell trying to get back up.
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