We may be lousy runners compared to other animals, but we sure can hold our own in a fight.
- Humans and other great apes all walk heel first, the most energy-efficient way to walk.
- Great apes are relatively aggressive animals, and foot posture benefits fighting.
- Humans are also built for long-distance walking and running, but not sprinting.
Heel to toe is by far the most efficient way for people to walk, according to new research that zeroed in on the mechanics of the human gait.
And as for why we evolved to walk heel to toe? It could have been to make it easier to fight for territory or mates, says the study's lead researcher.
Heel-first walking is extremely rare in the animal kingdom, with bears and great apes among the few animals that share this gait with humans. Most other mammals, such as dogs, cats and raccoons, walk and run on the balls of their feet. Speedy ungulates, like horses and deer, run and walk on tiptoes.
Humans, bears and other apes have this behavior in common, and we are all "relatively aggressive" animals, lead author David Carrier told Discovery News.