Re: A layman's question on bipedalism

Nick Maclaren (
16 Jul 1996 16:49:00 GMT

In article <>, (T&B Schmal) writes:
|> Bipedalism is often just the shorthand word for all the changes in LCA
|> that occurred at about the same time. The coincident freeing of the hands
|> is actually as interesting, or more interesting, than bipedalism per se.
|> There is really nothing in nature quite like the brain growth, cultural
|> changes such as food sharing, reproductive strategies, tool use - the
|> really unique things in manthat are caused by standing up. The next time
|> you see "bipedalism", if you mentally substitute "standing up" and all it
|> encompasses you might be more impressed.

Yes, quite. The thing that boggles me (and some experts, from hints
in Nature articles) is how we can have developed specialised brain
structures/areas in what is the blink of an eye as evolutionary time
scales go. Perhaps the most mind-boggling feature of all is that
some forms of dyslexia and brain damage affect speech, handwriting
and typing in different ways!

The human race has had speech for how long? Literacy was fairly
rare until recently, and we have had keyboards only for a couple of
generations! Clearly, distinguishing between these cannot have a
classical evolutionary basis, but the brain specialisations are
more than just simple memory.

Nick Maclaren,
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory,
New Museums Site, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG, England.
Tel.: +44 1223 334761 Fax: +44 1223 334679