bipedalism

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bipedalism

a mode of locomotion found in many primates (particularly man) and birds, in which only the hind limbs are used in walking. True bipedalism (i.e. where locomotion is normally bipedal) has required evolutionary changes to the vertebral column and pelvis, with their associated musculature. A principal advantage of bipedalism would seem to be that the forelimbs can become modified for a nonwalking function, e.g. tool handling in man, flight in birds.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"Our methods can be applied to fossil material belonging to some of the earliest potential human ancestors." The foramen magnum in humans is centrally positioned under the braincase because the head sits atop the upright spine in bipedal postures. In contrast, the foramen magnum is located further toward the back of the skull in chimpanzees and most other mammals, as the spine is positioned more behind the head in four-legged postures.
in apparent response to the directed-gaze of their conspecific (Owings and Coss, 2007), the other two black-tailed prairie dogs (PD2 and PD3) moved a short distance from the vegetation and assumed bipedal postures near nonmounded openings to burrows.