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Why did humans evolve to walk upright ?


Posted on Thursday, 20 September, 2012 | Comment icon 58 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 2.0 possan

 
What are the advantages of human bipedalism over the locomotion methods of other animal species ?

It remains one of the biggest questions in human evolution, why did our ancestors evolve upright walking ? Is there a connection between walking upright and intelligence ? Did it provide some other advantages we haven't considered ? One of the most prevailing theories is that upright walking is more energy efficient than other locomotion methods, but how much truth is there to this ?

Physiologists Lewis Halsey and Craig White have been attempting to answer this question by comparing the efficiency of human walking to that of 80 other species. What they found was that human walking appeared to offer little advantage in terms of energy efficiency over other methods of locomotion. Surprisingly it also appeared that in some closely related animals with the same locomotion method ( such as two species of chipmunk ) there was a wider gap in walking efficiency than there was between humans and chimpanzees who employ very different locomotion methods.

"The researchers found that a typical mammal weighing 140 pounds (the average weight for humans) has a net cost of transport of 10."

  View: Full article |  Source: Smithsonian

  Discuss: View comments (58)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #49 Posted by synchronomy on 8 October, 2012, 2:25
Then why did they ever leave the trees?
Comment icon #50 Posted by Abramelin on 8 October, 2012, 4:22
To pick up the fruit that had dropped from the trees?
Comment icon #51 Posted by Render on 8 October, 2012, 12:01
There are at least twelve distinct hypotheses as to how and why bipedalism evolved in humans, and also some debate as to when. Bipedalism evolved well before the large human brain or the development of stone tools.[sup] [/sup] Bipedal specializations are found in fossils from 4.2-3.9 million years ago.[sup] [/sup] Recent evidence regarding modern human (physical differences between men and women) in the has been seen in pre-modern primates such as . This dimorphism has been seen as an evolutionary adaptation of females to bear lumbar load better during , an adaptation that non-bipedal ... [More]
Comment icon #52 Posted by regeneratia on 15 October, 2012, 23:34
So they could pick the apple from the tree of knowledge and gain access to the plemora without the demiurge, who was unable to access the plemora himself?
Comment icon #53 Posted by Junior Chubb on 16 October, 2012, 23:37
Never eat a windfall apple...
Comment icon #54 Posted by Professor Buzzkill on 16 October, 2012, 23:57
I think the aquatic ape theory makes the most sense as it explains a number of things which are a mystery in our evolution. It explains why we are hairless, why babies instinctively hold their breath underwater (unlike all land mammals) and why we walk upright as drowning is a very good why of ensuring that those who do not stand upright do not pass on their genes.
Comment icon #55 Posted by spud the mackem on 17 October, 2012, 0:13
So they could use weapons to ward off predators,or go out as Hunters ,not so long ago the Zulu nation used to send out teenage boys for a period of time,armed only with a spear,a knobkerrie (club) and a shield,if they survived and brought back a predators tail or ears they were regarded as true warriors,if they returned empty handed (no evidence of having killed a predator), they were still regarded as having passed the initiation into Adulthood, but were given other tasks,like guarding the village perimeter, or as herders or lookouts,and were classed as none fighting men.
Comment icon #56 Posted by sam12six on 18 October, 2012, 20:40
Or it would if we were vaguely fish shaped like whales and dolphins. Mammals that are not fish shaped (even those who spend a ton of time in the water) tend to have hair. That's just untrue. A common cost effective way of ridding a bunch of dogs or cats of fleas is dipping. Basically, you mix a batch of poisonous water and make like John the Baptist. I've seen it many times on both dogs and cats and never once saw one come out of the water coughing or dying from a lungful of poison. If floods were frequent enough and of long enough duration for the difference to have any effect o... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by C235 on 19 November, 2012, 20:10
To carry tools on our shoulders? :P


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