Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Humans Walk Upright to Conserve Energy

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - Why did humans evolve to walk upright? Perhaps because it's just plain easier. Make that "energetically less costly," in science-speak, and you have the conclusion of researchers who are proposing a likely reason for our modern gait.

Bipedalism — walking on two feet — is one of the defining characteristics of being human, and scientists have debated for years how it came about. In the latest attempt to find an explanation, researchers trained five chimpanzees to walk on a treadmill while wearing masks that allowed measurement of their oxygen consumption.


It turns out that humans walking on two legs use only one-quarter of the energy that chimpanzees use while knuckle-walking on four limbs. And the chimps, on average, use as much energy using two legs as they did when they used all four limbs.

(Read the rest of the article here.)

When asked for comment, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) scoffed, "I object to this study and its findings. One, it promotes the Theory of Evolution. Two, it promotes the conservation of energy. This is nothing more than the liberal media reporting liberal scientific research." The presidential hopeful continued, "If man weren't meant to drill for oil in coral reefs, the Bible wouldn't have said man was granted "dominion" over the earth. Think of all the classic, gas-guzzling cars that would be outlawed if liberals got their way. Unnecessary energy consumption is a fundamental American right, and the reason I want to be president."

Brownback has accordingly vowed to scuffle around on all fours for the remainder of his campaign.

(By the way, the Brownback stuff is all satire. Questionable satire, perhaps, but not to be taken seriously.)

(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)

No comments: