Locomotor decoupling and the origin of hominin bipedalism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Theoretical adaptive landscapes and mathematical representations of key constraints of evolutionary and primate biology are used to propose a new hypothesis for the origin of hominin bipedalism. These constraints suggest that the selective pressure that produced this novel form of locomotion was the need for effective suspensory and terrestrial movement. This testable hypothesis, termed the Decoupling Hypothesis, posits that bipedalism is an adaptation that enables the shoulder to maintain a high degree of mobility, a feature important to suspensory behaviors, in the face of significant demands for a high degree of stability, a feature important for highly effective terrestrial quadrupedism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 7 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive landscape
  • Key innovation
  • Primate behavior
  • Shoulder
  • Trade-off

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Locomotor decoupling and the origin of hominin bipedalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this