Biomechanics and the origins of human bipedal walking: the last 50 years.

CROMPTON, Robin Huw, SELLERS, William, DAVIDS, Keith and MCCLYMONT, Juliet (2023). Biomechanics and the origins of human bipedal walking: the last 50 years. Journal of biomechanics, 157: 111701.

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Motion analysis, as applied to evolutionary biomechanics, has experienced its own evolution over the last 50 years. Here we review how an ever-increasing fossil record, together with continuing advancements in biomechanics techniques, have shaped our understanding of the origin of upright bipedal walking. The original, and long-established hypothesis held by Lamarck (1809), Darwin (1859) and Keith (1934), amongst others, maintained that bipedality originated in an arboreal context. However, the first field studies of gorilla and chimpanzees from the 1960's, highlighted their so-called 'knucklewalking' quadrupedalism, leading scientists to assume, semi-automatically, that knucklewalking must have been the precursor to bipedality. It would not be until the discovery of skeletons of early human relatives Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus prometheus, and the inclusion of methods of analysis from computer science, biomechanics, sports science and medicine, that the knucklewalking hypothesis would be most robustly challenged. Their short, but human-like lower limbs and human-like hand indicated that knucklewalking was not part of our ancestral locomotor repertoire. Rather, most current research in evolutionary biomechanics agrees it was a combination of climbing and bipedalism, both in an arboreal context, which facilitated upright, terrestrial, bipedal walking over short distances.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arboreal locomotion; Biomechanics; Bipedal walking; Evolution; Neurobiological systems degeneracy; 0903 Biomedical Engineering; 0913 Mechanical Engineering; 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; 4003 Biomedical engineering; 4207 Sports science and exercise
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2023 12:08
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 13:00

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