Karen Steudel is an associate professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin. She has studied scaling and limb design in living primates and early hominids. Recently, her research has focused on morphological correlates of locomotor performance in a wide variety of mammals and the implications of those studies for ourunderstanding of early hominids.
Locomotor energetics and hominid evolution
Article first published online: 2 JUN 2005
Copyright © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company
Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews
Volume 3, Issue 2, pages 42–48, 1994
How to Cite
Steudel, K. L. (1994), Locomotor energetics and hominid evolution. Evol. Anthropol., 3: 42–48. doi: 10.1002/evan.1360030205
- Issue published online: 2 JUN 2005
- Article first published online: 2 JUN 2005
- erect posture;
- locomotor economy
The presence of a bipedal gait in fossil apes is now recognized as the earliest paleontological evidence of the beginnings of the human lineage. Thus, the search for the selective pressure that led to the adoption of bipedal posture and gait is the search for the origins of the human adaptation. One of the most popular candidates for the origin of erect posture is its purported energetic advantage.1–4 This argument is reevaluated in light of data on the energetic cost of locomotion in mammals and, particularly, data on the effect of bipedalism on cost. I go on to discuss what morphological traces we might expect to see of changes in the locomotor economy of our ancestors once bipedalism became established.