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Why did our ancestors start walking upright ?


Posted on Saturday, 25 May, 2013 | Comment icon 45 comments | News tip by: DieChecker


Image credit: CC 2.0 possan


 
What was it that lead our distant ancestors to move from walking on four legs to walking on two ?

One of the most prevailing theories concerns changes in the climate up to 2.5 million years ago which lead to the demise of large swaths of forest in Africa. As the trees made way for open savannah, it is believed, our ancestors adapted by developing the ability to walk upright. Now however this theory has been challenged by a team of archaeologists who have suggested the change was brought about not by climate change but by geology.

Volcanic activity and shifting tectonic plates in Africa at the time could have produced uneven terrain, deep gorges and other obstacles that favor bipedalism. "The broken, disrupted terrain offered benefits for hominins in terms of security and food, but it also proved a motivation to improve their locomotor skills by climbing, balancing, scrambling and moving swiftly over broken ground - types of movement encouraging a more upright gait," said study co-author Isabelle Winder.

"Being four-legged has its perks. As a quadruped, your center of gravity is lower, there's less wind resistance when you're running, and, best of all, you can use your hind foot to scratch your ear."

  View: Full article |  Source: Christian Science Monitor

  Discuss: View comments (45)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #36 Posted by Maz1 on 26 May, 2013, 21:10
There was a documentary 10 years ago which said that one of the reason we are bipedal is to conserve our energy for sex. *Goes back to my little hole*
Comment icon #37 Posted by bigjonalien on 26 May, 2013, 23:06
I'd like to know why we weren't born with four arms and two hearts?
Comment icon #38 Posted by DieChecker on 26 May, 2013, 23:06
Gorillas and Chimps walk tripod when carrying or dragging something. Those apes mostly have one baby at a time. Now imagine a sub-species of chimp that had two or more babies at a time... They'd need both hands to carry their babies.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Skithia on 27 May, 2013, 10:38
Why?
Comment icon #40 Posted by Abramelin on 27 May, 2013, 15:21
Why did our ancestors start walking upright? Maybe their knees started hurting:
Comment icon #41 Posted by Frank Merton on 27 May, 2013, 15:27
From the picture it is obvious we are not designed to walk on all fours. The thing is, we are descended from animals that were. Hence morning backache.
Comment icon #42 Posted by PersonFromPorlock on 27 May, 2013, 15:55
Paperwork. It started early.
Comment icon #43 Posted by starchild1976 on 30 May, 2013, 6:39
It was to help the chicken cross the road.
Comment icon #44 Posted by Artaxerxes on 7 August, 2013, 3:37
It takes less energy to walk bi-pedal on two legs than it does on four legs. It's as simple as that. Food/energy/calories were at a premium and our ancestors had to save energy any way they could. They had to go further to feed and it was cheaper energy wise to walk on two legs than on four.
Comment icon #45 Posted by SkepticalB on 7 August, 2013, 5:21
I always assumed it was so they could learn to strut
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