The function of the spine

by Serge Gracovetsky

The wide range of human physical activities obscures the relative simplicity of the physics behind movement. From the moment the legendary fish emerged from the water and landed on solid
ground, the development of anatomy was shaped by the need to conserve energy. In this context, the Earth’s gravitational field became another natural resource that our species learned to exploit.

Here Gracovetsky suggests that the coupled motion of the spine and the ability to assemble structures made of compressive and tensile elements using tensegrity techniques top the list of the most important biomechanical constraints on the design of our anatomy.