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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

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SESSION 5

 SESSION 5: How Did Humans Evolve? Is Evolution Still Happening?

Explore Part B: Development of Bipedalism

One cannot overemphasize the role of bipedalism in hominid development. It stands as perhaps the salient point that differentiates the forebears of man from other primates. This unique ability freed the hands for myriad possibilities -- carrying, tool-making, intricate manipulations. From this single development, in fact, stems all modern technology.

(From Mary Leakey, "Footprints in the Ashes of Time." National Geographic, April 1979)

Image of scientist talking about bipedalism.

Bipedalism is a distinguishing characteristic between humans and primates. To learn more about the development of bipedalism, watch the Evolution Show Two video segment "Walking Tall" and read its related background information.

Then read the article, "The Transforming Leap, from Four Legs to Two."

Walking Tall
View in:
QuickTime | RealPlayer

Summarize the different hypotheses offered to explain the development of bipedalism and the evidence that supports or refutes each.

Next: Explore Part C: Bigger Brains

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