p. 1358. Man, the tottering biped
- Leslie Klenerman
In order to understand how humans reached our present state, ‘Man, the tottering biped’ explores how the adoption of a two-legged gait—bipedalism—in humans led to widespread and profound changes in our anatomy. The discovery of a fossil skull named Australopithecus africanus by Raymond Dart in 1925 in South Africa and hominin footprint trails at Laetoli, Tanzania, now attributed to Australopithecus afarensis, showed hominins capable of standing upright and of walking. The skeletal design of the foot changed about two million years ago and is linked directly to barefoot running as an integral part of hunting. Several differences between walking and running call for special mechanisms to help ensure stabilization and balance.