DCSIMG

Walking on two legs gave us a hand up

MANKIND’S ancestors may have started walking on two legs simply because it allowed them to carry more food away in their hands, boosting their chance of survival, scientists believe.

Anthropologists studying chimpanzees found that the apes, who usually walk on all fours, walk upright to free their hands when they need to monopolise hard-to-find resources in the face of fierce competition.

The team from the University of Cambridge and Kyoto University in Japan believe the benefit of “first come, first served” and getting a bigger share of scarce food supplies could, over a long period of time, have led some of our earliest “hominin” ancestors to evolve into “bipedal” primates walking on two legs permanently instead of four.

Professor William McGrew, from Cambridge’s department of archaeology and anthropology, said: “Bipedality as the key human adaptation may be an evolutionary product of this strategy persisting over time. Ultimately, it set our ancestors on a separate evolutionary path.”

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page