An interview with paleoanthropologist Carol Ward on the difference bipedalism (bipedality) makes:
Tom Garlinghouse: Let’s start with the basics. Will you please explain bipedality in layperson’s terms and why it’s such an important concept in human evolution?
Carol Ward: The way that humans get around the world is different from any other animal on Earth. We move around on the ground, upright on two feet, but in a unique way: with one foot after the other, holding our body fully upright in a characteristic series of motions. This is something that no other primate does, and it seems to be a behavior that was present in some of the earliest members of our branch of the family tree. It represented what was really the initial major adaptive change from any apelike creature that came before us. So it’s a big deal to figure out how and why we walk the way we do, in order to figure out why and how our lineage really diverged so much from apelike creatures. Tom Garlinghouse, “Unraveling the Mystery of Human Bipedality” at Sapiens
Also, Ward tells Garlinghouse: “Brains in early hominins really don’t start to get large until after 2 million years ago, so for the first two-thirds of human evolution, brain size change wasn’t really a major event.”
But brain size is not as important a quality as is often assumed. See Do big brains matter to human intelligence? (We don’t know. Brain research readily dissolves into confusion at that point)
More on bipedality/bipedalism: Researchers: Supernova prompted humans to walk upright Funny, if bipedalism originated in a global catastrophe, that it never occurred to any other primate to resolve the problem by becoming fully bipedal. But keep thinking. Resist groupthink.
Bipedalsm: Regulatory area cent.com/intelligent-design/bipedalism-regulatory-area-missing-in-humans/” target=”another”>missing in humans
Researcher: To Understand Human Bipedalism, Stop Assuming “A Chimpanzee Starting Point”
Rough terrain caused humans to start walking upright
Early bipedalism walked no straight line
We’ve also heard that bipedalism developed so we could hit each other. Or carry infants. Or scarce resources. Or save energy. Or cool down. But mainly so we could have our hands free for whatever. (Saving eneregy and cooling down don’t really count here because lots of other methods would have worked; they just wouldn’t have freed the hands at the same time.)
See also “I’m Walkin’, Yes Indeed I’m Walkin’” But Not Because It’s Necessarily a Better Way to Get Around
Also, Design perspectives and the physiology of walking
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