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Palaeontology

Did a supernova prompt us to walk upright ?

By T.K. Randall
May 31, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments



A very close supernova could wipe out all life on Earth. Image Credit: CC BY 4.0 ESO/M. Kornmesser
A new study has linked a 2.6 million-year-old supernova explosion with our ancestors' move to bipedalism.
While scientists have long suspected that the shift towards walking upright was prompted by major environmental changes, exactly what brought about these changes has long remained unclear.

Now though, a new study published in the Journal of Geology has put forward the theory that a supernova explosion - which happens when a very large star dies - may have been responsible.

This cataclysmic event, the researchers argue, could have charged the Earth's atmosphere, increasing the frequency of lightning strikes and causing immense wildfires.
With fewer trees to climb and larger expanses of grassland to cross, our ancestors may have shifted to walking upright to help them move more quickly and to keep a better eye out for predators.

"After this conversion to savanna, they would much more often have to walk from one tree to another across the grassland, and so they become better at walking upright," said lead author Adrian Melott.

"They could see over the tops of grass and watch for predators. It's thought this conversion to savanna contributed to bipedalism as it became more and more dominant in human ancestors."

Source: BGR.com | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Piney 4 years ago
It was also a nearby binary supernova which gave our solar system all it's heavier elements when it was first forming.  But as for supernovas shifting the climate? No, many different planetary processes did that. Along with meteors.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot 4 years ago
Our genes are always affected by space, by space radiation that is. Constant mutations lol these mega events just add flavors and hasten things up  
Comment icon #3 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 4 years ago
Everything in our bodies, except the hydrogen, is basically leftovers from a supernova. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin 4 years ago
I've also heard that gold is not at all indigenous to Earth (with respect to VERY early Earth) but rather the result of massive heavy-metal bombardment by impacted asteroids and meteorites later-on; far before even a single microbe developed here.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Stiff 4 years ago
It's always a learning curve
Comment icon #6 Posted by AllPossible 4 years ago
I still walk with a hunch. They call me hunchback of notre dame on the streets.
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
Heck no, the reason we started walking upright and the only emotional physical posibility in such of short time was in water since food abounded more than on grass lands.
Comment icon #8 Posted by lost_shaman 4 years ago
Oh my gosh! We already know Hominins walked out of the forests an onto the savannahs. This hypothesis invokes Supernovas to induce more lightning that ends up burning away the forest and this leads to Hominins walking is just silly as if Climate can't simply change over millions of years naturally without invoking Supernovas!  


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