SciCafe

SciCafe: Why Walk on Two Legs? The Pros and Cons of Bipedalism

April 1, 2015

scicafe_april14

Walking on two legs, or "bipedalism," is a key characteristic defining humans and our early ancestors. But what an odd way to walk and run! Join Museum Curator Brian Richmond and Jeremy DeSilva from Boston University in exploring the great advantages of walking on two legs, as well as the unfortunate consequences of evolving bipedalism from a body plan designed to walk on four, not two, legs.

This SciCafe event occurred on April 1, 2015. Hear the full program in this podcast, or watch a version here: 


 

Resources:

Although man stands on two legs, his skeleton was originally designed for four. Read an original paper from 1951 on the Scars of Human Evolution:
http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v185/n6/pdf/scientificamerican1251-54.pdf

Read about the hypothesis that bipedalism reduced the energy cost of walking compared with our ape-like ancestors: 
http://www.raichlen.arizona.edu/DavePDF/SockolEtAl2007.pdf

An analysis on throwing biomechanics and how changes in hominin anatomy affect throwing performance:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v498/n7455/full/nature12267.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20130627

The origins of bipedalism:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982212000826#

Learn about the perils of being bipedal:
http://www.udel.edu/bioms/seminararchives/06_07/April/Latimer.pdf

A statement by speaker, Dr. DeSilva from the 2013 “Unintelligent Design” conference at Boston University:
http://www.bu.edu/anthrop/files/2013/02/DeSilva_statement.pdf

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This SciCafe event is presented in collaboration with The Leakey Foundation.