Wednesday, December 1

When did we start walking (and the mystery of what made us stop)

  • Jan Simek
  • The Conversation*


Image source, Wikimedia Commons


Lucy (center) and two individuals of the Australopithecus sediba species, an ancestor of modern humans from two million years ago.

This is an important question because many anthropologists view standing or bipedalism — walking on two legs — as a characteristic of “hominins” or modern humans and their ancestors.

It is difficult to explain it in a simple way, because bipedalism did not appear overnight. It was the product of a gradual evolution that began millions of years ago.

Of course, there are no videos of the first person who started walking upright. So how do scientists try to answer the question of how humans moved in ancient times?

Fortunately, the shape of the bones found and how they fit together gives information about how a creature moved when she was alive. And anthropologists can also find evidence of it in the landscape.

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