Throwing and bipedalism: A new look at an old idea

Holly Dunsworth, John Henry Challis, Alan Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Throwing as a low-cost means of punishing non-cooperating members of a group has recently been suggested responsible for allowing humans to cooperate in large groups of unrelated people. We looked at some anatomical and physiological features of throwing and found that an African ape musculoskeletal system could have been exaptive for throwing from a bipedal stance. Several unique features of early hominids that have been argued as adaptations for other purposes, such as climbing, can be equally well regarded as throwing adaptations. We asked if there was any way of telling when accurate throwing arose in our lineage. This possibly occurred with the emergence of Homo erectus, when body proportions and anatomy became essentially like those of modern humans, and when the size of the central nervous system had enlarged to the point of being able to control accurate throwing motions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalCFS Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg
Issue number243
StatePublished - Sep 11 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Palaeontology


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