Family That Walks on All Fours
Compare the Skeletons
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Compare the Skeletons

The transition from walking on all fours to walking on two feet was, well, no walk in the park. Numerous changes to our ancestors' skeletons and muscles, not to mention their behavior and surrounding environments, had to take place over many millennia. In this interactive, compare the skeletons of chimpanzees and modern humans—as well as that of our early bipedal predecessor, Australopithecus afarensis, commonly known as the australopith and epitomized by the 3.2-million-year-old fossil Lucy—to see just a few of the many physiological alterations that made walking upright possible.—Brian Richmond

Brian Richmond is an associate professor of anthropology at George Washington University and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. His research includes the study of how hominid locomotion evolved.

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© | Created October 2006