Bipedal – The Scrambling Theory

Photo credit: mlhradio / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: mlhradio / Foter / CC BY-NC

Working on the principle that you can never have too many options, another hypothesis for human bipedalism has entered the fray. For decades proponents of the Savanna Theory have been looking down their noses at advocates of the Aquatic Ape Theory. How will the incumbents react to the newcomer, the upstart Scrambler Man Hypothesis? Will they band together to heap scorn on it, or will the Aquatic Ape crowd be sympathetic to a plight so like their own?

Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ / Foter / CC BY-NC

“Just when you thought scientists couldn’t possibly come up with yet another idea, along come Isabelle Winder of England’s York University and her colleagues. They argue in the June Antiquity (paywalled, so I’m not providing a link – rjb) that previous hypotheses fall short because they ignore an important factor: topography.” – Erin Wayman at ScienceNews

In a nutshell, it suggests that we became bipedal not because we needed to see over the grass on the Savanna, and not because we were wading in deep water, but because we were scrambling on rocks and crags. It comes complete with the same kind of “Just So” stories that accompany the other two, and should be equally open to criticism. It looks as if it will stimulate renewed interest in the origins of bipedalism, although at least one of the commenters on the ScienceNews article seems to be exhibiting some ennui.

“Humans evolved bipedalism when we were four feet tall. We did it to reach the top buttons on the Pepsi machine, expanding our diets to include Pepsi and Mug Root Beer as well as orange soda and Mountain Dew. Rising prices eventually led to fine motor skills in H Erectus, as he was the first to need to negotiate the tricky bill-acceptor mechanism that foiled unfortunate H Habilis. H Sapiens evolved to cope with the screw-top PET bottles, rather than the pulltab cans favored by H Neanderthalensis, who eventually died out due to his superior upper-body strength and fiery temperment(sic) allowing him to tip the machines on himself out of frustration.

I call this the Anthro Pepsic Principle.” – John Turner

Hm, such cynicism. Shouldn’t we be delighted at the appearance of another point of view? If nothing else, it might offer some relief to the aquatic camp. They’ve been catching so much abuse over the years that they might appreciate another target popping up to draw some fire. They might even enjoy the chance to pile on themselves, and be on the throwing side for a change.

I know I’m delighted.-)


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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