Origins of bipedalism

Topics: Bipedalism, Australopithecus afarensis, Climate change Pages: 3 (972 words) Published: November 24, 2013
There has been much debate concerning the origins of bipedalism. Bipedalism, or the ability to move on two legs (eLucy, 2007) was said to have emerged due to climate change in East Africa, for sexual display purpose, to reduce exposure to sunlight, the need to use weapons and tools and many more (NOVA, 2013). There are numerous arguments associated with bipedalism as no one can be entirely sure as to what constituted to the emergence of this trait, which was first present in hominins Australopithecus Afarensis. Anthropologists claim that there is a missing link in the evolutionary lineage that makes it hard to confirm the real cause of bipedalism emergence. However, there are some models which are widely accepted by scientific world, such as the climate change model, and model which was just recently being introduced, but is supported by convincing arguments. Next, climate change model and rugged terrain model will be discussed in the rest of this writing. The African continent nowadays is not what it was millions of years ago. By the beginning of the Miocene, which was around 22 million years ago, lush tropical forests and woodlands covered much of the landmass in tropical and subtropical Africa (Scarre, 2005). At that time, Sahara Desert had not yet developed (Scarre, 2005). Apes had no difficulties in finding food resources as they rely mostly on tress, from which they can obtain fruits and leaves from. However, around 7 or 8 million years ago (late Miocene), there was a dramatic cooling event in the earth’s climate, resulting in dropping of Mediterranean Sea level and thus causing the moisture-dependent forests of this continent to be reduced as their water sources dried up (eLucy, 2007). As their sources of food had now been reduced, they were forced to look for other sources of food. Bipedalism might have emerged over time as a result of spending more and more time looking for food resources on the ground (Fagan, 1998). However, Dr. Isabelle Winder and her...

References: Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. (2007) Introduction to Bipedalism : What is Bipedalism. Available at http://elucy.org/Main/WhatIsBipedalism.html (Accessed 8th October 2013)
Chadda, Rima. (2013) Origins of Bipedalism. Available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/allfours/bipe-nf.html (Accessed 8th October 2013)
Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. (2007) Introduction to Bipedalism : Bipedalism Geological Age & Climate. Available at http://elucy.org/Main/BipedalismGeologicalAgeAmpClimate.html (Accessed 10th October 2013)
Bohan, Christine. (2013) Scientists discover new reason why humans began walking on two feet. Available at http://www.thejournal.ie/human-ancestors-two-feet-924194-May2013/ (Accessed 10th October 2013)
Champaign. (2002) Origin of Bipedalism Closely Tied to Environmental Changes. Available at http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-02v.html (Accessed 10th October 2013)
Scarre, C. (2005) The Human Past. 1st ed. London : Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Fagan, B.M. (1998) People of the Earth. 9th ed. United States : Lindbriar Corp.
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