The Main Features of Modern Human Locomotion

Apparent Differences Among Human Ancestors Before the Emergence of Homo Sapiens


Essay, 2017

6 Pages, Grade: 5.50


Excerpt

2
Introduction
This essays involves two main phases. Phase one is based on the the description of the main
features of modern human locomotion. Phase two is more exploratory and involves
explanation of the differences that may have been apparent among human ancestors before the
emergence of the Homo sapiens. The evolution of the primate is used as a framework to
explore the implications of the theory via document analysis, archival records and authors'
interpretations on the subject. Said in short, human ancestors, or early hominins shared a
number of likewise important traits, as well as possessed a considerable amount of anatomical
differences in terms of locomotion. For example, the bones of their pelvis or in short hip
region were shortened from top to bottom and have a bowl shape (Novembre, J et all, 2007).
In fact the latter was beneficial for the locomotion as it made the pelvis of the early human
ancestors more stable for weight support in upright position or moving bipedally (Fleagle, J.
G, 1998).
Features of modern human locomotion
In early hominids the locomotion features were quite different from the modern humans.
Simply put, the locomotion of the species before the appearance of the Homo sapiens was
devoted to features such as energy efficiency and so on (Fleagle, J. G, 1998). The most
outstanding feature of the early hominids were their feet that represented a platform to support
the entire weight of the body. During the years the evolution the feet were transformed into
having enlarged heels, capable to bear the increased amount of weight (Aiello,Leslie and
Christopher, 2002). Moreover, the human knee joints enlarged for the same reason as their
feet; their limbs also got longer, a feature that permits humans to lock their knees and stand up
straight for long periods of time without much effort from the muscles (Saladin,
Kenneth,2010). In addition, the changes in the shape of the hip were done mostly due to the
energy efficiency adaptation. The lattest change helped to stabilize the torso in modern
humans.
The vertebral column changes influenced positively the development of Homo sapiens.
Without it humans would not use less muscular effort to stand and walk upright (Wang et all,
2004). The skull has also involved, while contemporary human evolution would not be
possible without the larger brains contained in the skull. Unfortunately, some modern features
of the human locomotion remain poorly adapted to the bipedalism. This is especially true for
the lower part of the back and the knee joints, that are malfunctioned due to the osteological

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malfunction. However, the empirical studies on the subject are vast, having its main focus on
the idea that locomotion features in early hominids were quite different from the ones in
modern humans (Kilgore, Trevathan, W. & Jurmain, , 2004; Lewin, 2004; Fleagle, 1998;
Brothwell,1963).
Differences apparent among human ancestors before the emergence of Homo sapiens
However, to generate knowledge about the questions posed in this essay a relevant
examination of the literature provided was made. Moreover, a case study using a number of
sources as basic evidence was chosen. According to several surveys (Kilgore, Trevathan, W.
& Jurmain, , 2004; Lewin, 2004; Fleagle, 1998; Brothwell,1963) the early hominin legs and
foot bones were much more similar to ours than to the ones of the apes. This view has
recently been challenged and a new perspective was proposed,identifying the main reasons
behind that particularity. Fleagle (1998) states that the bipedal locomotion was the method of
adaptation of the early hominins to live in a mixed woodland and grassland environment. The
author also suggested that bipedalism was chosen because it made easier walking in long
distances for unlimited period of time. In addition, the mere upright posture of the body was
used in order to dissipate excess body heat. Due to the abovementioned suggestions it might
be concluded that the bipedal animals were able to walk great distances with limited amount
of energy spent.
With regards to locomotion and the differences apparent among the early human ancestors, it
should be said that Australopithecus anamensis were also bipedal, however they were highly
efficient tree climbers. The shapes of the arms and the leg bones indicated that they were
bipedal. Not only that but also their canine teeth were relevantly large compared to later
australopithecines and humans ( Aiello and Dean, 2002). The alignment of the teeth in the jaw
was somewhat rectangular, reminding of the apes, rather that the modern human dental arch.
The abovementioned kinds of species were the ancestors of the Homo sapiens; moreover,
the australopitecins were in its line of evolution, despite more evidence is understandably
needed in order to verify the validity of such conclusions. This approach would allow the
examination of the contribution of different literature sources.
However, it must be noted that while this essays aims to highlight and assess the main
features of modern human locomotion and explain what differences may have been apparent
among human ancestors before the emergence of the Homo sapiens, we cannot conclude with

4
absolute certainty that human ancestors, or early hominins shared a number of likewise
important traits, as well as possessed a considerable amount of anatomical differences in
terms of locomotion. Thus, that type of perception could be misleading being used as a
starting point for further research on the subject. Many earlier writers believe that that the
bipedal locomotion was the method of adaptation of the early hominins to live in a mixed
woodland and grassland environment (see for example Fleagle,1998; Aiello and Dean, 2002;
Lewin, 2004;). Increasing emphasis is being placed on the idea bipedalism was chosen
because it made easier walking in long distances for unlimited period of time. In addition, the
mere upright posture of the body was used in order to dissipate excess body heat.
Conclusions
This essay began by understanding the main tasks of it. Guided by the notion of critical
review of recent literature on the subject with a particular focus on the differences that may
have been apparent among the ancestors of human before the emergence of Homo sapiens, a
case study approach was undertaken in order to allow the examination of the contribution of
different literature sources. Based on the findings, the study conclude that early hominins
shared a number of likewise important traits, as well as possessed a considerable amount of
anatomical differences in terms of locomotion. Moreover, the bipedal locomotion was the
method of adaptation of the early hominins to live in a mixed woodland and grassland
environment. It has also been suggested that bipedalism was chosen because it made easier
walking in long distances for unlimited period of time. It appears that The most outstanding
feature of the early hominids were their feet that represented a platform to support the entire
weight of the body. During the years the evolution the feet were transformed into having
enlarged heels, capable to bear the increased amount of weight (Aiello,Leslie and Christopher,
2002).
Since, the abovementioned theories were not developed in full, it should be noted that
australopitecins were in the line of evolution of modern humans, despite more evidence is
understandably needed in order to verify the validity of such conclusions. As this is the case,
the fact that they were also bipedal, however highly efficient tree climbers is more than
important.The shapes of the arms and the leg bones indicated that they were bipedal. Not only
that but also their canine teeth were relevantly large compared to later australopithecines and
humans ( Aiello and Dean, 2002). The alignment of the teeth in the jaw was somewhat
rectangular, reminding of the apes, rather that the modern human dental arch. Hence, many
earlier writers believe that that the bipedal locomotion was the method of adaptation of the
Excerpt out of 6 pages

Details

Title
The Main Features of Modern Human Locomotion
Subtitle
Apparent Differences Among Human Ancestors Before the Emergence of Homo Sapiens
College
Anglia Ruskin University
Grade
5.50
Author
Year
2017
Pages
6
Catalog Number
V387415
ISBN (eBook)
9783668614796
File size
414 KB
Language
English
Tags
human locomotion emergence homo sapience influence
Quote paper
Silvia Stamenova (Author), 2017, The Main Features of Modern Human Locomotion, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/387415

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