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Evolution of Human Legs

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Human species is classified as the most intelligent among all living things. Human belongs to a species of bipedal primates which falls under the Hominidae family. In a taxonomical classification, human is referred to as Homo sapiens, which is a Latin word for wise man.  Humans possess a highly developed brains which his capable of reasoning and solving problems.  Human species inhibit all parts of the in various geographical locations in the world. Today it is believed that the total human population in the world is more than 6 billion distributed all over the world and inhabiting more lands areas.

What sets human from the rest of the animals in the world is their capability (Audesirk et al., 2008). Apart from having a greater thinking capability, their limbs (both lower and upper limbs) have evolved making it possible to use tools than other species in the world.  According to evolution theories, both modern primates and humans shared a common ancestry.  The ape like human ancestors who was known as autralophicus had short legs 2 million years ago since they had a squat physique and stances which at least helped males to fight over access to females and resources. By then, they walked on all fours and hence both upper and lower limbs had presumable same size to balance the body while walking.  It is also believed that the short legs also helped them to climb trees since most of them lived on trees and foliaged for food on trees just like modern ape.

The starting point in evolution of human legs and hands came with discovery of tools (Sorowski and Pawlowski, 2008). When human started using tools, they were forced to stand upright and consequently their lower limbs elongated in adaptation to the new physique. Human legs therefore become elongated in length and developed more muscles to support the body while using tools.


Audesirk, T., Audesirk, G., & Byers, B. (2008). Biology – Life on earth with physiology (8th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson-Prentice Hall

Sorowski, P. & Pawlowski, B. (2008). Adaptive preferences for leg length in a potential partner. Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 29(2)

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