Figure 2 Danuvius guggenmosi. However, fossils of the ancient potential hominin Ardipithecus ramidus suggest that living apes might have evolved quite specialized locomotion compared with their earlier ancestors. For example, a genus of fossil ape called Nacholapithecus had a monkey-like body but unusually large forelimbs and long toes, whereas another ape genus, Sivapithecus , had an orangutan-like face, an ape-like shoulder, and a monkey-like elbow and pelvis 10 , Living African ape species inhabit the equatorial region of Africa, but, during certain times of the Miocene, many ancestral great apes were living throughout Europe and Asia and migrating both to and out of Africa. Although logical, this top-down approach is constrained, as Darwin acknowledged 4 , to examining evidence from the few remaining living ape species. Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily. Did it evolve from an ancestor that lived mainly in trees, or were these ancestors already walking on all fours on the ground and subsequently evolved to stand up and walk on two feet? A bottom-up approach focuses instead on ancient ape fossils that pre-date our last common ancestor, such as those of the genus Nacholapithecus or Sivapithecus. Answering the questions of why and how hominin bipedalism evolved depends a lot on what kind of locomotion was being used before terrestrial bipedalism evolved.
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