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Orthograde is a term derived from (Greek ὀρθός, orthos ("right", "true", "straight") + Latin gradi (to walk)] that describes a manner of walking which is upright, with the independent motion of limbs.
Both New and Old World monkeys are primarily arboreal, and they have a tendency to walk with their limbs swinging in parallel to one another. This differs from the manner of walking demonstrated by the apes.
Chimpanzees, gorillas, and humans, when walking, walk upright, and their limbs swing in opposition to one another for balance (unlike monkeys, apes lack a tail to use for balance). Disadvantages related to upright walking do exist for primates, since their primary mode of locomotion is quadrupedalism. This upright locomotion is called "orthograde posture". Orthograde posture in humans was made possible through millions of years of evolution. In order to walk upright with maximum efficiency, the skull, spine, pelvis, lower limbs, and feet all underwent evolutionary changes.
The first definitive evidence of habitual orthograde posture in human evolutionary lineage begins with Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, dating between 5.2 to 5.8 million years ago. The skeletal remains of this hominid exhibit a mosaic of morphological characteristics that would have been both adapted to an arboreal environment and walking upright terrestrially.
- Niemitz, Carsten (March 2010). "The evolution of the upright posture and gait—a review and a new synthesis". Naturwissenschaften. doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0637-3.
Crompton, R H with E E Vereecke and S K S Thorpe (2008) Locomotion and posture from the common hominoid ancestor to fully modern hominins, with special reference to the last common panin/hominin ancestor. Journal of Anatomy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2409101/
What Does It Mean to Be Human? Walking Upright. Accessed September 21, 2015. http://humanorigins.si.edu/human-characteristics/walking.
- Kottak, Conrad Phillip. Windows On Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology. McGraw-Hill. New York, NY. 2005. pg. 80. ISBN 978-0073258935.
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