Bipedalism — walking upright on two legs — us a defining feature of the human lineage. It is thought to have evolved as forests retreated in the Late Miocene to Pliocene period.
Chimpanzees living in analogous habitats to early hominins offer a unique opportunity to investigate the ecological drivers of bipedalism that cannot be addressed via the fossil record alone. In new research, scientists focused on a community of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Issa Valley, Tanzania, as the first test in a living ape of the hypothesis that wooded, savanna habitats were a catalyst for human bipedalism.
“Terrestrial (land-based) bipedalism is a defining feature of modern humans, and its morphological adaptations are critical to distinguishing fossils that fall within the human clade (hominins) from those of other apes (hominoids) over the past 7 million years,” said University of Kent researcher Rhianna Drummond-Clarke and colleagues.
“The shift to more arid and open environments in the Late Miocene-Pliocene (10 to 2.5 million years ago) has played a central role in hypotheses about hominin evolution.”
“In particular, the emergence and evolution of bipedalism is often considered to be a key adaptation to more open, dry habitats — termed ‘savanna,’ which includes wooded habitats with a grassy understory rather than only treeless grassland assumed in traditional ‘savanna hypotheses’ — in which hominins reduced the time spent in trees and increased terrestrial foraging and traveling as forests retreated.”
Note: Did the genetic information required for bipedalism already exist within hominoids? If not, no amount of environmental opportunity can reasonably be the cause of “the emergence and evolution of bipedalism.”
“Issa chimpanzees are well situated for testing the savanna effect on chimpanzee positional behavior, not only through comparison to forest-dwelling communities but also by comparing how individuals adjust their positional behavior across vegetation types within a savanna-mosaic habitat.”
The researchers recorded more than 13,700 instantaneous observations of positional behavior from 13 chimpanzee adults (six females and seven males), including almost 2,850 observations of individual locomotor events (e.g., climbing, walking, hanging, etc.), over the course of the 15-month study.
They then used the relationship between tree/land-based behavior and vegetation (forest vs woodland) to investigate patterns of association.
Similarly, they noted each instance of bipedalism and whether it was associated with being on the ground or in the trees.
“We found that the Issa chimpanzees spent as much time in the trees as other chimpanzees living in dense forests, despite their more open habitat, and were not more terrestrial as expected,” they said.
“Furthermore, although we expected the Issa chimpanzees to walk upright more in open savanna vegetation, where they cannot easily travel via the tree canopy, more than 85% of occurrences of bipedalism took place in the trees.”
Despite these findings, why humans alone amongst the apes first began to walk on two feet still remains a mystery.
“To date, the numerous hypotheses for the evolution of bipedalism share the idea that hominins came down from the trees and walked upright on the ground, especially in more arid, open habitats that lacked tree cover. Our data do not support that at all,” said Dr. Fiona Stewart, a researcher at University College London.
“Unfortunately, the traditional idea of fewer trees equals more terrestriality just isn’t borne out with the Issa data.”
“What we need to focus on now is how and why these chimpanzees spend so much time in the trees — and that is what we’ll focus on next on our way to piecing together this complex evolutionary puzzle.”Full article at Sci.News.
The “mystery” of “why humans alone amongst the apes first began to walk on two feet,” and “why these chimpanzees spend so much time in the trees” presents yet another disconnect between the expectations of evolutionary theory and reality. However, both of these findings are in complete accord with the model of intelligent design, in which the Designer intended humans to walk on two feet and chimpanzees to spend most of their time in trees.
27 Replies to “At Sci.News: Human Bipedalism May Have Evolved in Trees, Study Says”
and here we go again:
Seversky, Sir Giles, JVL, Chuckdarwin and Co.
This is how it ends, when you believe in just-so stories ….
PS1: Darwinists are always wrong ….
PS2: this article reminds me of why giraffes got their long necks :))) you know, the reaching-high-branches-to-feed just-so story …
The “common ancestor” would have been identical to the modern ape and entirely different than humans in all aspects where apes and humans differ.
For instance, the ancestor would be hairy like apes and unlike humans, knuckle walker like apes and unlike humans, etc.
So how could it be that one and only one branch (humans) deviates when all others (apes) do not change where it matters ? It wouldn’t. Hence the evo story makes no sense.
Does not even qualify as speculative fiction.
Humans spending their time in trees instead of walking on two feet? How did they get water?
There were no ‘primitive’ humans, just humans.
Apes/monkeys were always apes/monkeys.
But let’s be honest. You can use design to explain everything. Even evolution.
SG at 4,
Unguided evolution does not allow for design except by accident.
“[E]volution works without either plan or purpose — Evolution is random and undirected.”
([I]Biology[/I], by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)
“Humans represent just one tiny, largely fortuitous, and late-arising twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life.”
(Stephen J Gould quoted in Biology, by Peter H Raven & George B Johnson (5th ed., McGraw Hill, 1999), pg 15; (6th ed., McGraw Hill, 2000), pg. 16.)”
Sure. But explaining things using design/creation arguments is what makes sense.
Your random mutations/natural selection theory is as absurd as it gets. And it is fascinating, that so many well educated people STILL believe this nonsense.
Darwinists always wrong, but for some unknown reason, people still believe what these guys say …
I am not sure if you have heard of professor Michael Levin. He was mentioned here on UD in the past.
He is a developmental and synthetic biologist at Tufts University.
However, a few days ago, he released a very interesting Youtube presentation
“Where is Anatomy Encoded in Living Systems?”
I strongly suggest to watch the part where he is explaining his experiments with frogs limbs (starting at 10:35)
In the end, he sums up (kind of funny when you consider he is a mainstream biologist):
Levin’s video presentation is here:
The frog-limbs experiment presentation starts here:
Martin_r at 6,
People have to believe in unguided evolution to prop up a worldview. The origin of the human being is accidental. Intelligent Design tells everyone: You were designed. So, like used car salesmen, the product – evolution – continues to be sold no matter how faulty it really is. No matter how contrary to the evidence. I mean, do you really want Intelligent Design textbooks in public schools? That would ruin years of accidents…
Relatd@5, are you suggesting that your god is incapable of designing the universe to utilize evolution? I thought he was all powerful.
SG at 9,
A simple statement but the real answer is more complicated.
1) Science excludes God – any God.
2) So, using the Catholic view, if a process occurred, it was entirely guided by God. Since Intelligent Design points to an intelligence then God is the answer.
3) Public school textbooks cannot mention this at present. Any hint that the Designer is God will just draw lawsuits.
Comments on an earlier post are also relevant to this post:
And . . .
Again, any Darwinist here care to disagree?
The researchers completely misinterpret these findings. Chimps and humans were both created ex nihilo as terrestrial, walking primates. Then after the debacle in the Garden of Eden, the chimps decided to steer clear of humans to avoid any more guilt by association and thus took to the trees en masse. An object lesson on making sure you pick the right neighborhood……
You know that religious groups have always been free to set up their own schools and teach what they want, teach from the Bible and pray to their heart’s content. Likewise, non-sectarian and non-religious families are entitled to public schools free of religion and religion-based curricula. Per No. (2) in your outline, you clearly envision teaching religion in science class, thus pushing your agenda in a public school setting would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment……..
Really? What “findings” are you referring to?
Assuming that you’ve chosen to mock Genesis rather than agreeing or disagreeing with the science-fantasy that passes for science or react to my own, more-likely science fantasy, let me point out that you’re not familiar with Genesis either.
Genesis describes a sequence of creation, gross to fine, culminating in Eve. The first animal life followed vegetation, and was described as follows in the literal, word-for-word reading of the Seputagint.
After that, God made land animals from the earth. He originally created them vegetarian. When the text comes to Adam, it describes Adam as being formed by God out of dust/ground/soil, and Eve was cloned from Adam, not ex nihilo.
Tell me, how this is different from the current scientific consensus?
And there are some major differences along with a high level of abstraction. And this is not a scientific explanation based on observable evidence, nor should it every be used in place of scientific investigation, which needs to follow a strict path of observation and evidence, leading to constantly changing ideas and theories.
So back to the bipedal theory proposed and my question. Do you agree with bipedalism being the result of common ancestors of chimpanzees walking around in tree tops?
If you will excuse the vulgarity, bullshit.
Cd at 13,
And there it is – religion in science class, followed by legal action. For the record, I don’t want any particular religion promoted in science class. That said, there’s this:
‘The Church “proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things.”
• “Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”
• ‘Quoting our late Holy Father John Paul II: “The evolution of living beings, of which science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses admiration. This finality, which directs beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator.”
‘Christoph Cardinal Schönborn is archbishop of Vienna and general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. ‘
As I mentioned before as an analogy, historians agree that Alexander the Great conquered the entire world known to him. However, they’re not saying that he himself did this all himself, personally.
Likewise, God doesn’t create everything ex nihilo, but provides it ways to reproduce and adapt. HOW he automates all this is, however, exactly in the realm of scientific investigation!
If there is a conservation law of information which holds that it can be neither created nor destroyed then the information required for bipedalism must always have existed in some form. Of course, such a hypothesis tends to obviate the need for a Creator/Designer.
As for “new” information, the words in an English dictionary can be arranged by human authors into any number of books or articles. Are those books new information, given that those specific arrangements of words did not exist previously, or aren’t they, given that the words already existed in the dictionary?
Is genetic information the same as the information we exchange here or is it something different, in which case, isn’t there a risk of ambiguity and equivocation in using the same term for both?
Not really, this research seems to call into question the prevailing view that bipedalism was driven by substantial changes in the environment from predominantly forest to arid bushland but it is still conceivable that it could also be explained by our ancestors exploiting a ground-dwelling niche environment that was not occupied by other apes at that time. This would be in addition to the other advantages of bipedalism such as freeing forelimbs to be used for manipulation.
Almost anything can be in accord with an all-purpose intelligent designer but that is not an explanation of “how” it’s just a speculation about a possible “who”.
No, gods are not excluded, it’s just that their followers have not given science a good reason to include them.
That may be the Catholic view but Catholicism has thus far been unable to provide good reasons to include it in science.
Any attempt to insert unsubstantiated religious beliefs into public school science textbooks would be both unethical, unconstitutional and rightly vulnerable to legal challenges.
As to: “The shift to more arid and open environments in the Late Miocene-Pliocene (10 to 2.5 million years ago) has played a central role in hypotheses about hominin evolution.”
Seeing that savannas existed 12 million years ago, not 10 to 2.5 million years ago, this would seem to present yet another ‘little’ problem to the ‘hypothesis’ that humans evolved from some ape-like creature,
Also, another ‘little’ problem for Darwinian ‘just-so stories’ is the fact that, “the energetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are smaller than the differences between very closely related species that share the same type of locomotion”
In short, as far as energy efficiency is concerned, there simply is no reason why it would be advantageous for an ape to evolve into a bipedal mode of locomotion.
As to the main finding of the present paper,
So yet again, we find another imaginary ‘just-so story’ for evolution bites the dust when it is confronted with real world data.,,,, How unsurprising!
Stephen Jay Gould once ‘let the cat out of the bag’, so to speak, in revealing just how reliant Darwinists are on pure imagination rather than on any substantiating scientific evidence.,,, Gould, in an article entitled “The Art of Story Telling” no less, stated that, “When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.”
And no where is this science-free ‘art of storytelling’ more abused by Darwinists than in their various speculative ‘narratives’ of human evolution.
In May of 2020, via an article from the American Museum of Natural History, (which is certainly no creationist organization), it was stated, ““Humans are storytellers: Theories of human evolution often resemble “anthropogenic narratives” that borrow the structure of a hero’s journey,, but unless grounded in testable hypotheses, they are no more than “just-so stories”,,,, “When you look at the narrative for hominin origins, it’s just a big mess — there’s no consensus whatsoever.”
As to, “it’s just a big mess — there’s no consensus whatsoever”, in the following article it was noted that, “A recent issue of Science presents the six different explanations of hominid evolution,,,”
Shoot, even three different members of the same Leakey family produced three different ‘family trees’ for supposed human evolution,
And given the susceptibility of humans to fall prey to the old sins of pride and greed, then one can easily see why there are so many different conflicting ‘narratives’ for human evolution. As the late Phillip Johnson humorously noted, “Any economist can give you the answer to that. Human ancestors have a great American value and so they are produced at a much greater rate.,,”
In short, there is the temptation of fame and fortune for the person who makes the supposed ‘next’ great paleontological discovery in human evolution. Whereas a dry academic career await those who don’t ‘rock the boat’ so to say. Which is, obviously, hardly the type of environment that one needs in order to foster dispassionate and honest appraisal of the fossil evidence.
Moreover, the propensity of the mainstream media to overhype any finding in supposed human evolution, no matter how ‘stretched’ that finding may be, certainly does not help matters.
As Casey Luskin noted at the 9:49 minute mark of the following video, the mainstream media will severely ‘hype’ a new fossil find that supposedly ‘proves’ human evolution, and then subsequently ignore, and/or ‘bury’, any falsifying evidence that inevitably comes shortly thereafter,
As well there is the ‘little’ problem of untethered ‘artistic license’ that goes into reconstructing our supposed ape-like ancestors in museums,,, an untethered ‘artistic license’ that further leads an unsuspecting public astray.
As the following 2021 articles stated, “(artistic) hominin reconstructions vary in appearance considerably”,,, and,, “a great deal of ‘scientific/artistic licence’ is inappropriately used in ‘hominin’ reconstructions.,,,”
And as a leading researcher of the previous 2021 paper noted, “I expected to find consistency in those reconstructions displayed in natural history museums, but the differences, even there, were so severe that I almost thought all previous practitioners had never encountered a single hominid reconstruction before commencing their own.”
For example of untethered ‘artistic license’ in reconstructing our supposed evolutionary past, 4 artists, using the same bone fragments, produced 4 very different ‘ancestor’ drawings.
Imagination and speculation, not science, plays a far larger role in ‘artistic reconstructions’ for human evolution than the general public is aware of. As Boyce Rensberger wrote in the journal Science, “Unfortunately, the vast majority of artist’s conceptions are based more on imagination than on evidence. But a handful of expert natural-history artists begin with the fossil bones of a hominid and work from there…. Much of the reconstruction, however, is guesswork. Bones say nothing about the fleshy parts of the nose, lips, or ears. Artists must create something between an ape and a human being; the older the specimen is said to be, the more apelike they make it…. Hairiness is a matter of pure conjecture.
As Earnest A. Hooton of Harvard stated, “alleged restoration of ancient types of man have very little, if any, scientific value and are likely only to mislead the public”
As if misleading the public was not bod enough, it also turns out that the overt racism of Charles Darwin himself, and yes he was an overt racist no matter what Darwinists may try to claim to the contrary,
,, it also turns out that the overt racism of Charles Darwin himself is systemically present in these artistic reconstructions of human evolution in museums.
Moreover, if we rightly ignore these highly misleading, even racially motivated, artistic reconstructions that Darwinists have put forth in museums, and look soberly, and dispassionately, at the scientific evidence itself, we find that the scientific evidence itself contradicts the Darwinian ‘narrative’,, and it contradicts it at every turn.
Thus in conclusion, the claim from Darwinists that humans evolved from some ape-like creature is, for all intents and purposes, based entirely on untethered imagination and ‘artistic reconstruction’, rather than on any substantiating, much less any compelling, scientific evidence. In short, the ‘narrative’ of human evolution belongs far more to the realm of fantasy and fairy tales than it does in the real world of empirical science.
What a load of baloney. Human beings need to eat today and every day. This fake fiction that a change in the environment ‘forced’ humans to start walking does not read like good fiction should. It is a fake idea made to sound true but is only an elaborate story. Nothing more.
Regarding misleading the public, there are a few here who promote evolution as if it happened as described in Biology textbooks. However, it exists primarily to promote an atheist worldview. To tell people they are accidents. The result of a long process that did not have humans in mind. You would think that textbooks would exclude philosophy or religious references but that is not true. The following shows the real ‘value’ of teaching evolution to people.
“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”
([I]Evolutionary Biology[/I], by Douglas J. Futuyma (3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc., 1998), p. 5.)
You ask: “are you suggesting that your god is incapable of designing the universe to utilize evolution? I thought he was all powerful.”
The question is not, “Could he?” but “Did he?”
Since God, by definition, is all-powerful, the answer to the first question is “Yes.”
Since our study of nature shows that evolutionary processes could not have brought about life as we know it by natural processes within our universe, the answer to the second question is “No.”
Given the laws of physics extant within our universe, abiogenesis by the forces of nature is beyond the capabilities of those forces. Therefore, life would have to be formed by divine intervention. Everything we know about nature affirms this conclusion.
To Seversky @18:
You say, “If there is a conservation law of information which holds that it can be neither created nor destroyed then the information required for bipedalism must always have existed in some form. Of course, such a hypothesis tends to obviate the need for a Creator/Designer.”
You seem to miss the point. Let me rephrase the issue:
If there is a conservation law of information which holds that information cannot be systematically increased by natural processes within the universe, and if the origin of even a single living cell represents an exponential increase in the information content of the universe, then the origin of that cell did not happen naturally, but it must have come about by an input of information from beyond the physical universe. This conclusion is consistent with the record of the Bible, which states that God is the author of life.
Caspian at 25,
Make sure this doesn’t get into public schools or the first call will be to the ACLU.
Looks like Chuckdarwin concedes my points @14 and has retreated to another discussion, ignoring my question:
If nothing else, it demonstrates a higher priority of pontificating in newer posts than answering questions in older ones. In my estimation, this reduces his credibility to the level of a verbal form of vacuous graffiti spray painted on a wall.