Bipedalism Research Paper

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Bipedalism is one of the diagnostic features of humans and their ancestors. One of the ways to tell if a species was bipedal is the location of the foramen magnum, which is the hole at the bottom of the skull through which the spinal cord passes. In most primates, the foramen magnum is located near the back of the skull. In humans, the foramen magnum is located right under the brain, and is evidence of bipedalism because no other primate besides humans have the foramen magnum located directly under the brain. Another characteristic of bipedalism is a big toe parallel to the other toes. All other primate species, who walk on all fours, have a divergent big toe. Early hominid fossils found to have a big toe parallel to the rest have been shown to be related to humans. There are differing views on how these early primates became bipedal full time. One theory, called the “savanna theory” is that roughly 8 million years ago there was a massive extinction of forest dwelling creatures, including the oldest early hominids. This could have caused new species to evolve rapidly, and being bipedal would be a huge advantage for those living in dry…show more content…
During the Miocene era, the earth became much drier, so species had to evolve and adapt to that. Food would become much more scarce during this time, so animals would have to travel much further to find food. In order to get the food back home they would have to carry it somehow. Bipedalism freed up the hands, which allowed early hominids to do this. The climate is constantly changing so it makes sense that animals would have to adapt to their environments in order to survive. I think the savannah-based theory works along with this. It’s possible that early hominids were forced out of their forest habitat by a changing environment. As grasslands opened up, and forests shrunk, they quickly adapted to their new

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