The Evolutionary Beginnings of Bipedalism – Also Known as Walking on Two Legs!

Person walking in nature

“Who invented Walking” may suggest an individual creator, but walking, or bipedalism, results from evolutionary processes. It’s not an invention but a development that occurred over millions of years. Our ancient ancestors, such as Australopithecus, began walking on two legs about 4 million years ago. This shift from four-legged to two-legged walking was a crucial transition in human evolution, marking a significant adaptation for survival and mobility in changing environments.

The Evolutionary Beginnings of Bipedalism

Bipedalism, the ability to walk on two legs, marks a pivotal shift in our ancestors’ evolution. This transition from quadrupedalism (walking on four limbs) began over 4 million years ago. Key fossil evidence, such as Australopithecus, shows early humans’ gradual shift to upright walking. These changes in skeletal structure, particularly in the spine, pelvis, and legs, allowed for more efficient movement and energy use. Bipedalism opened new avenues for interaction with the environment, significantly shaping human evolution.

The Advantages of Walking on Two Legs

Walking on two legs offered several advantages to early humans.

  • It improved survival by freeing up hands for carrying tools and food. This ability also allowed for better use of tools, enhancing hunting and gathering efficiency.
  • Standing upright provided greater visibility over tall grass and in dense forests, helping to spot both food sources and predators.
  • Bipedalism is energy efficient. It reduced the energy spent on moving, allowing early humans to travel longer distances in search of food and shelter. These benefits played a crucial role in the evolution and success of human species.


Walking evolved over millions of years and wasn’t an invention by humans. Early walkers, like the Devonian tetrapods, showed primitive forms of bipedalism. About 290 million years ago, creatures like Orobates and the bipedal Eudibamus cursoris displayed more efficient walking. This evolution led to bipedal dinosaurs. Humans’ ancestors, like Homo erectus, developed the modern form of walking much later, long after the dinosaurs. This process shows a gradual development from basic to complex walking abilities across different species over geological timescales.