When We First Walked

  • Published: 12 September 2018
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    Fossilized footprints have proved that human ancestors were already striding across the landscape 3.6 million years ago. But who started them on that path? What species pioneered this style of locomotion? Who was the first to walk?

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    Dericquebourg, P., Person, A., Ségalen, L., Pickford, M., Senut, B., & Fagel, N. (2015). Environmental significance of Upper Miocene phosphorites at hominid sites in the Lukeino Formation (Tugen Hills, Kenya). Sedimentary Geology, 327, 43-54.
    Thorpe, S. K., McClymont, J. M., & Crompton, R. H. (2014). The arboreal origins of human bipedalism. Antiquity, 88(341), 906-914.
    Harcourt-Smith, W. H. (2010). The first hominins and the origins of bipedalism. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 3(3), 333-340.
    Brunet, M., Guy, F., Pilbeam, D., Lieberman, D. E., Likius, A., Mackaye, H. T., ... & Vignaud, P. (2005). New material of the earliest hominid from the Upper Miocene of Chad. Nature, 434(7034), 752.
    Richmond, B. G., & Jungers, W. L. (2008). Orrorin tugenensis femoral morphology and the evolution of hominin bipedalism. Science, 319(5870), 1662-1665.
    Begun, D. R. (2004). The earliest hominins--is less more?. Science, 303(5663), 1478-1480.
    Lovejoy, C. O., Latimer, B., Suwa, G., Asfaw, B., & White, T. D. (2009). Combining prehension and propulsion: the foot of Ardipithecus ramidus. Science, 326(5949), 72-72e8.
    Lovejoy, C. O., Suwa, G., Spurlock, L., Asfaw, B., & White, T. D. (2009). The pelvis and femur of Ardipithecus ramidus: the emergence of upright walking. Science, 326(5949), 71-71e6.
    White, T. D., Suwa, G., & Asfaw, B. (1994). Australopithecus ramidus, a new species of early hominid from Aramis, Ethiopia. Nature, 371(6495), 306.
    Leakey, M. G., Feibel, C. S., McDougall, I., & Walker, A. (1995). New four-million-year-old hominid species from Kanapoi and Allia Bay, Kenya. Nature, 376(6541), 565.
    White, T. D., WoldeGabriel, G., Asfaw, B., Ambrose, S., Beyene, Y., Bernor, R. L., ... & Hart, W. K. (2006). Asa Issie, Aramis and the origin of Australopithecus. Nature, 440(7086), 883.
    Masao, F. T., Ichumbaki, E. B., Cherin, M., Barili, A., Boschian, G., Iurino, D. A., ... & Manzi, G. (2016). New footprints from Laetoli (Tanzania) provide evidence for marked body size variation in early hominins. elife, 5, e19568.
    Almécija, S., Tallman, M., Alba, D. M., Pina, M., Moyà-Solà, S., & Jungers, W. L. (2013). The femur of Orrorin tugenensis exhibits morphometric affinities with both Miocene apes and later hominins. Nature Communications, 4, 2888.
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Comments • 772

  • Diogo Azevedo Lima
    Diogo Azevedo Lima  20 hours back

    hi, could you make an episode about the paranthropus tree and what was the big difference between sapiens and them? Thanks

    • Flávio Viana Gomide
      Flávio Viana Gomide  2 days back

      Every time I watch a video about human evolution, It shows me another species of human. It's incredible!

      • Flávio Viana Gomide
        Flávio Viana Gomide  2 days back

        I love this channel. I love paleontology and all Sciences.

        • Cam RSR
          Cam RSR  7 days back

          Hey hot stuff!

          • TheGreatestShenFan
            TheGreatestShenFan  2 weeks back

            Walking was invented by Thomas Walking when he tried to stand twice at the same time

            • Wouter de ruiter
              Wouter de ruiter  2 weeks back

              so walking upright came before developing smarts? shouldn't come as a surprise. I know plenty of people who walk upright, but never developed intelligence.

              • daysmo
                daysmo  4 weeks back

                If only I had arches ,I’d be able to walk upright as well

                • indighoul
                  indighoul  4 weeks back

                  i saw those volcanic footprints in the natural history museum in london a few days ago

                  edit: a lot of these bones/fossils can be found in the natural history museum

                  • mille
                    mille  4 weeks back

                    Chimpanzes Wall on 2 legs

                    • Alexandra Bryngelsson
                      Alexandra Bryngelsson  4 weeks back

                      F. Engels were the first person that talked about the necessity of freeing the hand for our brains to grow. In 1876 he wrote"The Part played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man"


                      • oldcowbb
                        oldcowbb  1 months back

                        my anatomy is designed to seat on computer chair

                        • marc verhaegen
                          marc verhaegen  1 months back

                          :-( Obsolete. Unfortunately a missed opportunity.
                          For a serious (biological) answer, google
                          "ape and human evolution made easy 2018 Verhaegen"

                          • Felix Philippe
                            Felix Philippe  4 weeks back

                            lol, thanks marc. is your article peer reviewed by any chance?

                        • King ZERO
                          King ZERO  2 months back

                          Pan troglodyte

                          • Satan Lucifer
                            Satan Lucifer  2 months back


                            • Gordon Daniel
                              Gordon Daniel  2 months back

                              Perhaps they were looking over the Savannah grass for predators. Those that couldn't see them coming were eaten.

                              • Snowcial
                                Snowcial  2 months back

                                Please do a video on the aquatic ape hypothesis

                                • David Baldock
                                  David Baldock  2 months back

                                  Humans aren’t the only bipedal mammals. Kangaroos are bipedal too.

                                • Severn Owens
                                  Severn Owens  2 months back

                                  Best job of covering the whole history of
                                  “us apes” since.losing “those apes”.

                                  • Russ Carr
                                    Russ Carr  3 months back

                                    Letting the cat out the bag 💼 finally

                                    • sSplitty GD
                                      sSplitty GD  3 months back

                                      I just watched a curiosity stream ad right before this video!
                                      It was about the "first man," and I thought it was a coincidence that it was on this video about the first steps for humans.
                                      Guess not :)

                                      • Stefan Stanciu
                                        Stefan Stanciu  3 months back

                                        The current name of us is homo sapiens sapiens(twice as intelligent man) not homo sapiens(intelligent man)

                                        • Grow Someplace
                                          Grow Someplace  3 months back

                                          What if walking through water and bogs during rainy seasons was the deciding factor of walking on 2 legs and having less hair, and in fact hair that is streamlined to waterflow, not just sticking out like on apes. Perhaps being able to gather food in the water would give a major advantage to a species. Just 5000 years ago there were huge lakes in north africa, and no desert.

                                          • Phillip Scharf
                                            Phillip Scharf  3 months back

                                            That was a bit disappointing, the savannah hypothesis has been dead for years; bring on the Waterside Ape THEORY

                                          • Mike Ayala
                                            Mike Ayala  3 months back

                                            Should do a video on when humans first began wearing clothes

                                            • Robert Allen
                                              Robert Allen  3 months back

                                              The Savannah hypothesis has been almost entirely debunked. You know what model explains all of the quirks of the human animal with a single circumstance? The Aquatic Ape Theory.

                                              Occam's Razor, either dozens of circumstances precipitated dozens of anatomical differences in ways we have never seen in the animal kingdom, or, our ancestors got stranded on an island and all of our quirks occurred due to wading for food, as seen in all other aquatic and semi-aquatic animals.

                                              • Felix Philippe
                                                Felix Philippe  4 weeks back

                                                @Enya Feckenham yeah, this bloke's a classic armchair theorist. AAT is pretty much pseudoscience.

                                              • Enya Feckenham
                                                Enya Feckenham  2 months back

                                                @Robert Allen okidoki

                                              • Robert Allen
                                                Robert Allen  2 months back

                                                @Enya Feckenham Google "Aquatic Ape Theory" and have some fun swimming around the flood of content.

                                              • Enya Feckenham
                                                Enya Feckenham  2 months back

                                                That sounds really cool! Do you have anywhere i could go for further reading

                                            • Robert Allen
                                              Robert Allen  3 months back

                                              After 2 billion years of oceanic life, why are our oceans not teeming with life? Fresh water lakes can be saturated with algae, plants, and hundreds of species of animals, yet oceans in many parts of the world are vacuous of macroscopic life. We don't ever see miles-wide mats of plants converting sunlight into food. Why?

                                              • Felix Philippe
                                                Felix Philippe  4 weeks back

                                                i dOn'T KnOw rObErT, wHy DoN't YoU tElL uS

                                            • DARTH DAFFYD
                                              DARTH DAFFYD  3 months back

                                              Sooo .. a small brained animal walking on two legs = human ancestor?
                                              Obviously need to show more respect for my dog Butch :p

                                              • Mico Lim
                                                Mico Lim  3 months back

                                                Mabye, just mabye, Austriopalithicus Afarensis Started walking, then siversified, discovered fire, and then, BIG BRAIN TIME!

                                                • Avenger
                                                  Avenger  3 months back

                                                  Thank you very much for the measured cadence of your narration. It is perfect for your video presentation.

                                                  • Wojciech Lewenstam
                                                    Wojciech Lewenstam  3 months back

                                                    You have omitted discovery form Trachilos.There is a trackway from a time roughly corresponiding with Messinian Event.
                                                    This discovery was made by my friends.

                                                    • John Flanagan
                                                      John Flanagan  3 months back

                                                      Do you have a video about how our hands became so dexterous?

                                                    • Vinjer Hua
                                                      Vinjer Hua  3 months back

                                                      Hey PBS eons! First, thanks again for the amazing video!
                                                      Is it possible for next human vid to be on a case study on homo floriensis?

                                                      • Darius G.
                                                        Darius G.  3 months back

                                                        Im astonished by how we can tell facial features just by looking at footprints. Science is awesome!

                                                        • Seung Choe
                                                          Seung Choe  3 months back

                                                          Great vid, Eons Team!

                                                          Can this lead into a series on the major evolutionary tuns that lead into humans?

                                                          • Teej 1000
                                                            Teej 1000  3 months back

                                                            Any idea why we lack the body hair of our simian siblings? Maybe giving us the ability to loose heat whilst running, or making us more aquiline?

                                                            • Facts Before Feellings
                                                              Facts Before Feellings  3 months back

                                                              The theory is that not having body hair gives humans the ability to run during the heat of the day. One ancient way of hunting 4 legged animals, Is to chase them during the heat of the day casing them to collapse from heat exhaustion. Most 4 legged animals cannot run an cool there bodies at the same time. So they will eventual overheat and collapse if forced to gallop for long periods of time.

                                                          • Hassan Ahmed
                                                            Hassan Ahmed  3 months back

                                                            The origins of Vandal Savage.

                                                            • Matthew Flynn
                                                              Matthew Flynn  3 months back

                                                              Anyone know the name of the background music at 3:19?

                                                              • warpspeed
                                                                warpspeed  3 months back

                                                                This tatooed arm...Why?

                                                              • Bojan Zigic
                                                                Bojan Zigic  3 months back

                                                                I'm playing Ancestors and I'm at 7.5M years ago walking on two legs easy baby

                                                              • 47DAF
                                                                47DAF  3 months back

                                                                I am sad you didn't even mention the Aquatic Ape Theory. Walking on two legs and having no hair is ideal for living at a river or the ocean.

                                                              • JP Napiza
                                                                JP Napiza  3 months back

                                                                You mean the Beast Titan?

                                                                • MtnTow
                                                                  MtnTow  3 months back

                                                                  5:47 seen her on POF

                                                                  • zhbvenkhoReload
                                                                    zhbvenkhoReload  3 months back

                                                                    Go to Congress. Those cavemen never evolved.

                                                                    • ரமேஷ் குமார்


                                                                      • ursaltydog
                                                                        ursaltydog  3 months back

                                                                        maybe while walking on that wet bed of ash, they learned to walk upright so as not to have so much ash in their lungs, and could hold a hand over their mouth and nose... well.. those who lived that is..

                                                                        • ben nichols
                                                                          ben nichols  3 months back

                                                                          Lots of critters walked on two legs before us.

                                                                          • Jamichael0303
                                                                            Jamichael0303  3 months back

                                                                            What about an episode on when we first spoke

                                                                            • daffadd1
                                                                              daffadd1  3 months back

                                                                              I really dont want to listen or look at a tattooed bimbo