Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning to Walk

I have always wondered how man learned to walk. Various theories abound with the most prevalent stating we descended from "a common knuckle walking ancestor" but new evidence shows this is not the case.

"Some scientists point to features in the human anatomy as our own vestiges of a knuckle-walking ancestry. One notable example is the fusion a two wrist bones that could provide us extra stability, a feature we share with gorillas, chimps and bonobos.

But some lemurs have that feature too, and they do a variety of different movements in the trees but do not knuckle-walk, Kivell said.

Altogether, the evidence leans against the idea that our own bipedalism evolved from a knuckle-walking ancestor, the pair wrote. "Instead, our data support the opposite notion, that features of the hand and wrist found in the human fossil record that have traditionally been treated as indicators of knuckle-walking behavior in general are in fact evidence of arboreality."

In other words, a long-ago ancestor species that spent its time in the trees moved to the ground and began walking upright.

Another interesting fact about walking is the fact it's controlled falling using recursion and feedback loops managed by brain, muscle and nerves to keep us upright while going about our business. Pretty cool feat we do as humans I must say.


MurryC said...

The "knuckle-walking" hypothesis always seemd bogus in light of our (pretty amazing)3-space abilities. No svavannah-tramping primate would neede Michael Jordan's ability to launch and dunk, forget what a gymnast or tumbler is capable of doing.

Robert E. said...

Thank you my friend. I think the only knuckle draggers we see are the Sarah Palins of the world. :)