Evolution of Bipedalism

Chimps, our closest primate relatives, knuckle-walk. That is, chimps walk on their feet and the knuckles of their hands. Chimpanzees do walk on two feet for short distances, particularly when carrying something in their hands.

We diverged from a common ancestor with the chimp somewhere between 5 and 7 million years ago (based on our sharing more than 98% of DNA sequences). By the time of the Australopithicenes, skeletal features associated with bipedality (walking on two feet) had evolved. Why?

A number of hypotheses have been put forward and a new study out of the University of Arizona claims that bipedality expends less energy than knuckle-walking. These findings are confirmed in a study out of Harvard University.

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