When was walking invented? A question that left us wondering how people were transported from one place to another before walking was discovered. It’s tough for us to imagine that our ancestors primarily crawled on four limbs before walking was discovered.
However, human anatomy changed with time to support the body’s weight while walking upright. So, we carry out locomotion with the help of our two limbs rather than four. In this article, we’ll discuss everything that shaped this historical victory of humans.
When Was Walking Invented?
This is a very critical question as many anthropologists see walking on four limbs or bipedalism, as one of the characteristics which defines hominins (modern humans) and their ancestors. To answer ‘when was walking invented? ‘ is a difficult task as walking isn’t a thing that magically happened one day.
To carry out bipedalism, our ancestors went through gradual evolution which started millions of years ago. According to some reports, by 1.9 million years ago our ancestors’ bodies evolved resulting in primate angled femurs, curved spines, stronger knees, and more hip support helping humans to become fully bipedal, providing the answer for when was walking invented in1938.
Moreover, these newly developed longer femurs accelerated activities such as faster walking and longer strides.
Why Did Homo Sapiens Start Walking?
There’s no perfect answer for ‘when was walking invented‘ and why, but scientists do have multiple theories about it. One theory dates back to 2012 when research on chimpanzees was done in the Republic of Guinea. For the research, the chimpanzees were provided with a choice of coula nuts and oil palm nuts.
Intriguingly, the chimpanzees preferred the coula nuts besides living in an oil palm nut-dense area. Moreover, it was observed that when the chimpanzees received the coula nuts they were four times more likely to walk away on their two back limbs.
From the research, the one thing that came to light was that the chimpanzees chose the coula nuts somewhat for the reason to avoid competition and for that walking on their two limbs was the most viable option.
How Do Scientists Justify The Invention Of Walking?
After we hear when was walking invented, a common question our mind plays is how do scientists justify this statement. Can they tell us the exact period when humans started bipedalism? Or are there any photographs that depict the first person walking upright? No, there are none. So, how does scientist answer the locomotion of human beings in the very ancient period?
Scientists study the structure of a creature’s bone and the way these shaped bones fit into each other to understand how a creature moves when alive. Moreover, Anthropologists can find other evidence in the surroundings that indicate when was walking invented in 1938.
In 1994, the first unknown hominin ever was found in South Africa. The Anthropologist who found the body named the adult female individual, Ardipithecus Ramidus. The remains were nicknamed Ardi. Approximately 100 fossils were found from the Ardipithecus Ramidus species which date between 4.2 million to 4.4 million years old.
What Features Were Found In Hominids?
When scientists examined the species’ bone structure, certain characteristics that indicated bipedalism were found. For example, the foot was in a structure that allowed a kind of toe push-off (a similar structure found in today’s humans) which four-legged apes didn’t have.
The next feature was the shape of the pelvic bones, how the legs were structured under the pelvis and how they fit, all these indicated walking. However, Ardi didn’t walk exactly as we do. But when was walking invented can be answered by saying that the process did start 4.4 million years ago.
In Ethiopia, scientists have discovered a nearly-complete skeleton of a hominin species that lived about a million years after Ardi. They named it Australopithecus afarensis as they resembled fossils found in southern and eastern Africa. The fossil of the individual was female, so the Anthropologist nicknamed it Lucy.
So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that when was walking invented in 1938 after humans tried locomotion on two limbs.
Researchers have added more than 300 individual fossil species to the group. The partial yet well-preserved pelvis region in Lucy indicated it was a female to scientists. The upper legs and pelvis fit in a way that shows that she used to walk upright. No feet bones were preserved.
However, Anthropologists discovered fossilised footprints beneath a layer of volcanic ashes which were about 3.6 million years old. The tracks go along for almost 100 feet and 70 individual prints were found indicating the presence of at least 3 individuals walking on two feet. Although the footprints on these tracks prove that they walked upright, the speed and pace seem to be a bit different from ours.
So, it would not be wrong to say that it took a very long time for humans to develop walking. Perhaps the most common answer to when was walking invented and why hominin walk would be the faster walk or run, allowing them to see predators or the changed environment.
The Bottom Line:
In this article on finding the answer to when was walking invented, we saw multiple instances that proved the evolution of hominids. Hominids primarily carried out locomotion by crawling on four limbs and later with the evolution of body structures started walking on two limbs.
In any case, our ancestors (hominids) began walking very early which marked the first part of evolutionary history. The bipedalism also helped humans in freeing their hands and eventually their utilisation into making tools and weapons ultimately making it a hallmark of humans. Hope you liked reading the article!