Origin of bipedalism



Human and chimpanzee locomotor behaviors are described and compared using field patterns derived from measurements of the motions at the joints. Field patterns of human and ape bipedalism are so different that it is doubted whether the nonhuman type could ever have been a precursor of the human type. Chimpanzee quadrupedal vertical climbing and human bipedalism are, on the other hand, similar and a particular variety of this kind of climbing probably was the precursor of human bipedalism. Animals adapted to this variation would have had some brachiation-like morphological traits in their pectoral limbs and some hominid-like morphological traits in their pelvic limbs, traits anticipating the human condition. The australopithecines possessed these traits and must have been adapted to arboreal quadrupedal vertical climbing, having the capacity, at the same time, to perform facultative terrestrial bipedalism, moving on the ground in a manner visually identical to that of humans.