Pros And Cons Of Bipedalism

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Bipedalism is considered the trait that marks the diversion of the hominins from the rest of the great apes (hominidae). Although the possession of a very large brain and the ability to walk upright are qualities unique to humans amongst primates, the latter emerged much before the former. In this essay I will first discuss the different ways living and extinct hominins have adapted to bipedalism, then look at the positive and negative impacts it has had on our lineage, before concluding whether bipedalism was and is an achievement of evolution. The anatomical differences between early hominins and existing apes were first made apparent with the discovery of STS 14 (Australopithecus africanus) in 1947 and then ‘Lucy’ (AL 288-1; Australopithecus…show more content…
However it has been found that bipedal walking in humans is approximately 75% more energy efficient than quadrupedal walking in chimpanzees (Sockol, Raichlen and Pontzer, 2007). It has also been noted that bipedalism gives a greater advantage when using the forelimbs for any form of attack, such as resolving conflict – in fact great apes still today fight in the bipedal stance, especially in male competition for mates (Carrier, 2011). The forelimbs and hands being free also means hominins have the ability to carry food or offspring whilst they walk, and also encourages the construction and usage of…show more content…
Karen Rosenberg states that "The human female pelvis is a classic example of evolutionary compromise" (Ackerman, 2006), which refers to the need for bipedal walking but also the requirement to give birth to large brained and wide shouldered young, which is now near impossible to do without assistance. Strains from walking upright and carrying or lifting heavy objects can also put pressure on the lowest vertebrae of the spine – in fact Carol Ward and Bruce Latimer say (Ackerman, 2006) “No other primate experiences such back problems—except…our immediate

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