The question of exactly how humans fought their way to the top of the food chain may have become a little easier to answer. As KJZZ’s Tony Ganzer explains, all humans had to do was stand-up.
TG: In the late 1960s Rod Searling’s Twilight Zone kicked off a kind of monkey madness, with groundbreaking insights into the Planet of the Apes. In this scene, planet leaders try a man for being a man,
Ape cut: “This exhibit is a man, and therefore has no rights under ape law. He is a man isn’t he? He’s unlike any man you know..ANSWER THE QUESTION DOCTOR.”
TG: Fortunately this is not the way things turned out. Humans may have gotten a leg-up along the way.
Reichlan: “It was probably one of the first adaptations that made homonids more human.”
TG: David Reichlan is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. He was part of a team of researchers looking at how much energy chimpanzees use while walking, as compared to their human counterparts.
Reichlan: “Humans use 75 percent less energy than chimpanzees giving huge benefits over chimps.”
TG: These benefits over chimp energy usage would’ve allowed early humans to move more efficiently, and thus spend energy elsewhere.
Reichlan: “Some savings would then have been used on reproductions which is the name of the game when it comes to evolution.”
TG: If this is such a good idea, why haven’t the chimps figured it out? Reichlan says chimpanzees were probably never under the pressure to change their movement, and a move toward walking may have taken away from their tree climbing skills. But still, understanding why bipedalism, or two-leg walking, evolved may give a look into early humans.
Reichlan: “Understanding why bipedalism evolved is understanding why humans evolved essentially.”
TG: And fortunately humans made it to the top of the food chain.
Ape cut: “He is not being tried, he is being disposed of…”
For KJZZ, I’m Tony Ganzer.