Bipedial development

Biology Tutorial

Bipedial development


Bipedal animals are distinctly classified due to the anatomy of the pelvis and foot. This feature is found within the primate order and includes Homo sapiens and other extinct relatives including Homoerectus. The pelvis of a bipedal is shorter in stature and more cup or bowl-shaped compared to other primates. These unique characteristics allow for balance and stability of the spine in a consistent upright stature. Other indicators of bipedal include a curved spine and a foot which is flatter and more structured for balance(big toe). Throughout evolutionary history, we can see these characteristics in various combinations. For example, ARDY had a pelvis that was longer that modern-day Homosapien and is believed to also take advantage of climbing in her natural woodland habitat. Some of the bipedal hominids found in the fossil record include:
4.4 million years ago Ardipithecus(ARDY) adapted to woodland setting
3.6 million years ago Australopithecus (LUCY)
1.9 million years ago Homo erectus
Present Day Homosapiens

Sample Problem

What would be some of the features you would expect to see in an early bipedal creature? (such as the transitional creature which Darwin predicts should exist between nonbipedal (knuckle walking) and bipedal creatures)


Some of the features we may find in early/transitional bipedal hominids include a curved spine, a foot that is flatter and structure for balance instead of grabbing, and/or a shorter bowl-shaped pelvis than other hominid species. Remember that transitional species are most likely to have partial traits. For example, a spine may be curved but will probably not be as curved as much as current homosapiens.

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