Original Research

Nature and origin of bipedalism in primates

P. A. J. Ryke
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 6, No 2 | a947 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v6i2.947 | © 1987 P. A. J. Ryke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 March 1987 | Published: 17 March 1987

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P. A. J. Ryke,, South Africa

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Abstract

The differences and similarities characterizing apes and humans are the inevitable and predictable consequence of both groups having diverged from a common ancestor. An important question to ask is what prompted the change from quadrupedalism to bipedalism, probably at the time of the divergence of the ape and human lineages. Or did it occur before the split? What are the advantages and disadvantages of bipedal walking? An evaluation of the origin of bipedalism requires a knowledge of the distinctive skeletal and locomotor features of man as a biped in contrast to quadrupeds. Fossil hominid footprints give an indication of the bipedal plantigrade propulsive striding of the protohominids.

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