“Who invented walking?” It’s a question that at first glance might make someone chuckle. Walking, after all, seems to be as natural as breathing, a part of existence itself that cannot be separated from it. However, there is an intriguing tale that transports us back in time millions of years behind this seemingly straightforward query. It tells the narrative of how we evolved into the bipedal beings we are today from the earliest apes.
The question of “who invented walking” is not answered by mentioning a single inventor or a “lightbulb” moment. Instead, it tells the story of an amazing evolutionary adventure that moulded our predecessors and eventually ourselves. The story follows the gradual evolution of simple movements into the complex bipedal locomotion that distinguishes humans. Every step matters in this story. So let’s stroll into this interesting story, following in our ancestors’ footsteps from millions of years ago, and learn about the amazing process that resulted in the development of walking.
Who Invented Walking & When?
The answer to the question, “Who invented walking?” takes us back millions of years to a period when our predecessors were just starting to leave their mark on the planet.
In the human sense, walking is not an invention per se but rather the result of evolution, a process that lasted millions of years and was shaped and influenced by our predecessors’ survival needs.
Early primates, which existed 60 million years ago, were arboreal creatures who moved by using all four limbs, or quadrupedalism. These lemur-like creatures traversed the forest canopy with the help of their hands and feet. But our forefathers too changed as their environments did. Bipedalism, a mode of mobility that would later give rise to walking, was first demonstrated by the group of primates to which humans belong, the hominins, around 6-7 million years ago.
Bipedalism – An Essential Milestone in this Journey!
Fossil evidence suggests that early hominins, including ‘Ardipithecus ramidus’ and ‘Australopithecus afarensis’ (Lucy being the most renowned specimen), began to walk on two feet. This mode of propulsion was distinct from ours, less effective, and probably combined with times of climbing trees. Bipedalism appears to have had a number of benefits, including more free hands for carrying and using tools, a clearer view of potential predators, and less exposure to solar radiation on the body’s surface.
Over millions of years, bipedalism evolved into our ancestors’ main style of walking. A straighter posture, a distinct pelvis shape, and the formation of an arch in the foot to act as a spring while walking are just a few of the adaptations that resulted from efficient two-legged walking throughout time.
Who Invented Running? How did it evolve into What it is Now?
Fast-forward to Homo erectus, which lived roughly 2 million years ago and was able to run and walk like us. Their wide hips, long legs, and foot structure made them ideal for long-distance running and strolling. This capacity to travel great distances was probably a big help in locating food and avoiding predators.
Walking is still an essential part of how we move around today since it makes it easy for us to go around. We are uniquely equipped for an upright, bipedal life thanks to millions of years of evolution that have improved our stride, gait, and posture.
Therefore, the question “Who invented walking?” – wasn’t a single person or even one species. Instead, walking is the consequence of many modifications and adaptations created over millions of years by evolution. It’s evidence of how adaptable and resilient our ancestors were in the face of constant environmental change.
What Propelled the Evolution of Walking in Humans?
1. Adaptation to Environmental Changes:
When considering “who invented walking,” it’s crucial to consider the role of environmental changes. As the forests of Africa started to give way to grasslands, early hominins found themselves navigating new terrains. Walking upright, or bipedalism, was an adaptive response, enabling these early humans to traverse long distances across the grasslands more efficiently.
2. Freeing the Hands:
The question “who invented walking” often leads us back to the theory of tool use. By walking upright, early hominins had their hands free to carry food, tools, and offspring. This ability to use hands for functions other than locomotion likely offered a significant survival advantage, driving the evolution of bipedalism.
3. Energy Efficiency:
“Who invented walking” might be a misnomer as walking was more of an evolutionary result of efficiency. Bipedalism in humans is remarkably energy-efficient compared to the quadrupedal locomotion of other primates. This energy efficiency would have been a significant advantage in the survival and reproduction of our ancestors, promoting the evolution of walking.
When exploring “who invented walking,” it’s interesting to note that bipedalism might have also been a cooling mechanism. Walking upright exposes less of the body to the sun while increasing the exposure to wind. This orientation would have helped early humans regulate their body temperature and prevent overheating in the warm African climate.
5. Predator Surveillance:
The evolution of bipedalism could also be attributed to increased visibility. In addressing the question of “who invented walking,” standing upright allowed early hominins to spot predators and potential food sources over the tall grasses of the savannah, offering a critical survival advantage.
It’s abundantly evident that the answer to the question “Who invented walking?” is significantly more nuanced than it initially seems as we finish our stride through the history of human evolution. Walking is a monument to the power of evolution, a slow, steady process of adaptation and survival, rather than being an invention in the conventional sense.
Our ability to walk, run, and even dance now, having evolved from our ancestors’ first upright steps millions of years ago, is a result of evolution. The necessity to employ tools, the advantage of efficient energy usage, the need for greater body temperature regulation, and the benefit of predator surveillance all played a role in the process that led to the discovery of walking.
Walking, or bipedalism, did not develop suddenly. Our ancestors were able to live because to the advantages that each modest adaptation gave them. Therefore, keep this in mind the next time you stroll leisurely or start a vigorous walk. You’re engaging in the response to the question, “Who invented walking?” that has been in development for millions of years. a straightforward action that propelled humanity’s evolutionary process.