Friday, February 3

exhibit A for why scientists need science writers

The evolution of upright walking fascinates me. But the writing in a recent study that described watching chimpanzees was almost enough to put me off reading the abstract. Representative sentence:
Bipedalism was observed only on arboreal substrates, and was almost all postural, and not locomotor.
Translation: The chimps stood on tree branches, rather than when on the ground, and stood still rather than walked around standing.

The conclusion of the study was that perhaps our ancestors evolved to stand upright in trees to get food, and only later evolved to walk around upright—an idea that turns the classic notion, that our ancestors came out of the trees and then learned to walk upright in grasslands, on its head.


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