“The broken, disrupted terrain offered benefits for hominins in terms of security and food, but it also proved a motivation to improve their locomotor skills by climbing, balancing, scrambling and moving swiftly over broken ground - types of movement encouraging a more upright gait," said University of York archaeologist and study co-author Isabelle Winder, in a press release.
This development would have conferred benefits that extend far beyond locomotion. Walking on two legs frees up the hands, allowing for the use of tools and, eventually, bigger brains. And the complex landscape could have made our ancestors smarter, says Dr. Winder.
The varied terrain may also have contributed to improved cognitive skills such as navigation and communication abilities, accounting for the continued evolution of our brains and social functions such as co-operation and team work.
That we stood upright because the terrain was rough. Oh sure. Oh double sure. Can’t think of a better reason. It’s for damn sure that two-legged creatures are much better at “climbing, balancing, scrambling, and moving swiftly over broken ground” than any four-legged stumblebum. Yes, a wolf is no match for us. We can run down mountain goats with ease. Is it any wonder that so many two-legged creatures evolved in rough, tumble-down terrain? You know, those other two-legged creatures like… like… like…
Oh well, you know who you are.
What Ms Winder ignores is her other statement: “Walking on two legs frees up the hands, allowing for the use of tools.” But, hey, Ms Winder, one doesn’t have to walk upright to use tools, only to carry them. And it makes no difference what kind of ground you’re carrying things over; you have to stand up. Carrying tools is like being in the water all the time; you have no choice but to stand up. We never had prehensile tails.