Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Carry On Walking!

Date:
April 2, 2007
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact, be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all! How we have evolved to walk on two legs remains a fundamental but, as yet, unresolved question for scientists. A popular explanation is that it is our ability to carry objects, particularly children, which forced our ancestors onto two legs.

The next time you are struggling to carry your bags home from the supermarket just remember that this could, in fact, be the reason you are able to walk upright on two legs at all! How we have evolved to walk on two legs remains a fundamental but, as yet, unresolved question for scientists. A popular explanation is that it is our ability to carry objects, particularly children, which forced early hominins onto two legs.

Related Articles


Researchers looked at the energy expended when walking whilst carrying a 10kg load. Importantly, the distribution of the weight varied in each instance. Female participants, of child bearing age (20-30 years old) were assessed walking at a constant speed carrying either a symmetric load, in the form of a weighted vest or a 5kg dumbbell in each hand, or carrying an asymmetric load, which was a single 10kg weight carried in one hand, or a mannequin infant on one hip.

Results indicated that when carrying an evenly spread load humans are actually more efficient at carrying than most mammals but carrying awkward loads, such as an infant on one side of the body, uses much more energy. However this sort of carrying would have been inevitable once early hominins lost the ability to cling on with their feet. "The high energetic cost of carrying an asymmetric load, suggests that infant carrying would need to generate significant benefits elsewhere in order to be selected for," says Dr Johanna Watson of the University of Manchester.

This work is part of a larger project, run by Dr Bill Sellers at the University of Manchester, which also uses computer simulations to try to understand evolutionary processes, particularly the way in which we and other animals move.

Future plans are to extend this study to assess the energy cost of carrying in great apes which will be very tricky indeed. Computer models of early hominins carrying will also be built to try and evaluate whether their body shape and posture - long arms and short legs - would have made them noticeably better or worse at carrying than ourselves. This will help to build up a picture of how we evolved to walk to two legs.

Dr Johanna Watson will present work supporting this theory on Saturday 31st March 2007 at the Society for Experimental Biology's Annual Meeting in Glasgow.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Carry On Walking!." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402103004.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2007, April 2). Carry On Walking!. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402103004.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Carry On Walking!." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402103004.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

Fossil Treasures at Risk in Morocco Desert Town

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) Hundreds of archeological jewels in and around the town of 30,000 people prompt geologists and archeologists to call the Erfoud area "the largest open air fossil museum in the world". Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins