Friday, March 03, 2006


Researcher studies how we learned to walk like man

"CHICAGO - Dan Gebo believes that if we could go back millions of years and see hominids, the early, small-brained humans from which modern humans inherited the ability to move around on two legs, we would see some pretty peculiar styles of walking.

The hominid nicknamed 'Lucy,' a 3 1/2-foot-tall adult female who lived in what is now Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago, tired easily and would have had to run at a dead trot to keep up with a strolling modern human. And Australopithecus robustus, a toothy, dim, broad-faced early human that went extinct 1.4 million years ago, was hopelessly knock-kneed.

But these walks, however imperfect, were the most important steps ever taken for humankind, said Gebo, a Northern Illinois University anthropologist and co-author of a new study of the bio-mechanics of early human locomotion."

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