A baby’s ‘first steps’ are considered a milestone. But why do infants take months to walk when other newborn species can in one day?
A Unifying Model For Timing Of Walking Onset In Humans And Other Mammals
“The onset of walking is a fundamental milestone in motor development of humans and other mammals, yet little is known about what factors determine its timing. Hoofed animals start walking within hours after birth, rodents and small carnivores require days or weeks, and nonhuman primates take months and humans approximately a year to achieve this locomotor skill. Here we show that a key to the explanation for these differences is that time to the onset of walking counts from conception and not from birth, indicating that mechanisms underlying motor development constitute a functional continuum from pre- to postnatal life.”
Are Our Big Brains The Reason Newborns Can’t Walk?
“A HORSE can walk within an hour after birth. A newborn baboon baby can cling to its mother’s hair while she jumps through the trees. Even among our closest evolutionary relatives-chimpanzees and bonobos-babies are far more agile than their human counterparts. That’s because humans are born with brains that are largely immature, leaving babies with little control over their movements. This uniquely human attribute is the result of a lengthy evolutionary battle between big brains and narrow pelvises.”
Becoming Human: The Evolution Of Walking Upright
“Walking on two legs distinguished the first hominids from other apes, but scientists still aren’t sure why our ancestors became bipedal”
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