• bipedal;
  • chimpanzee;
  • bonobo;
  • human evolution;
  • referential model


A host of ecological, anatomical, and physiological selective pressures are hypothesized to have played a role in the evolution of hominid bipedalism. A referential model, based on the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and bonobo (Pan paniscus), was used to test through experimental manipulation four hypotheses on the evolution of hominid bipedalism. The introduction of food piles (Carry hypothesis) increased locomotor bipedality in both species. Neither the introduction of branches (Display hypothesis) nor the construction of visual barriers (Vigilance hypothesis) altered bipedality in either species. Introduction of raised foraging structures (Forage hypothesis) increased postural bipedality in chimpanzees. These experimental manipulations provided support for carrying of portable objects and foraging on elevated food-items as plausible mechanisms that shaped bipedalism in hominids. Am J Phys Anthropol 118:184–190, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.