From “Humans Began Walking Upright to Carry Scarce Resources, Chimp Study Suggests”
ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2012), we learn,
The team of researchers from the U.S., England, Japan and Portugal investigated the behavior of modern-day chimpanzees as they competed for food resources, in an effort to understand what ecological settings would lead a large ape — one that resembles the 6 million-year old ancestor we shared in common with living chimpanzees — to walk on two legs.
“These chimpanzees provide a model of the ecological conditions under which our earliest ancestors might have begun walking on two legs,” said Dr. Richmond, an author of the study and associate professor of anthropology at GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “Something as simple as carrying — an activity we engage in every day — may have, under the right conditions, led to upright walking and set our ancestors on a path apart from other apes that ultimately led to the origin of our kind.”
Studies showed that chimps would walk on their hind legs in order to carry valued food objects. But if after six million years, chimps have never got the idea that freeing one’s hands is generally a good idea, we can be pretty sure that something more is at work here.
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