First Steps How Upright Walking Made Us Human

By Jeremy DeSilva

Blending history, science, and culture, a stunning and highly engaging exploration by an eminent paleoanthropologist of how walking on two legs allowed humans to become the planet’s dominant species.


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Humans are the only mammals to walk on two rather than four legs-a locomotion known as bipedalism. We strive to be up-standing citizens, to honor those who stand tall and proud, and to take a stand against injustices. We follow in one another’s footsteps and celebrate a child beginning to walk. But why and how, exactly, did we take our first steps? And at what cost? Bipedalism has its drawbacks: giving birth is more difficult and dangerous, our running speed is much slower than that of other animals, and we suffer a variety of ailments, from hernias to scoliosis.

In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly everyday ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps describes upright walking as a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human-from our technological abilities and thirst of compassion, empathy, and altruism. Moving from developmental psychology labs to ancient fossil sites throughout Africa and Eurasia, DeSilva brings to life our adventure walking on two legs.

Delving deeply into the story of our past and the new discoveries rewriting our understanding of human evolution, First Steps examines how walking upright helped us rise above all other species on this planet.

Category: Genre: Non-Fiction, Science sku: 9780062938497

Additional information

Weight 18.75 oz
Dimensions 6.5 × 1.25 × 9.5 in