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Why Walk on Two Legs? The Pros and Cons of Bipedalism

Speaker(s): Brian Richmond, Jeremy DeSilva

New York, NY

April 1, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Join us for an evening of science, cocktails and conversation at SciCafe at the American Museum of Natural History. Wednesday, April 1 at 7:00. Admission is free and registration is recommended.

Walking on two legs, or ‘bipedalism’, is one of the key characteristics defining humans and our early ancestors. But what an odd way to walk and run. In this SciCafe, join Museum Curator Brian Richmond and Jeremy DeSilva from Boston University in exploring the great advantages of walking on two legs that allow us to be human, as well as the unfortunate consequences of evolving bipedalism from a body plan designed to walk on four, not two, legs.


April 1, 2015
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


American Museum of Natural History
56 West 81st St.
New York, NY 10024 United States
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Brian Richmond

Brian Richmond is Curator of Human Origins at the American Museum of National History in New York City. Prior to that, he was Associate Professor and Chair (2010-13) of the Department of Anthropology at The George Washington University (GW), and a Research Associate of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. He was also Director (2007-2010) of the Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program in the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at GW. He is a paleoanthropologist who is particularly interested in researching how and why our bodies evolved to work the way they do now, and recovering evidence from the fossil record about how humans evolved. In his search for early human and ape fossils, he has conducted fieldwork in Ethiopia and Turkey as well as ongoing fieldwork in Tanzania and Kenya, where he codirects fieldwork in East Turkana and has unearthed new fossils and some of the oldest footprints in the human family tree.

Jeremy DeSilva

Jeremy DeSilva is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2008. He is a paleoanthropologist, specializing in the locomotion of the first apes (hominoids) and early human ancestors (hominins). His particular anatomical expertise-- the human foot and ankle-- has contributed to our understanding of the origins and evolution of upright walking in the human lineage. He has studied wild chimpanzees in Western Uganda and early human fossils in Museums throughout Eastern and South Africa. From 1998-2003, Jeremy worked as an educator at the Boston Museum of Science and continues to be passionate about science education. When he is not studying fossil foot bones, or lecturing on human evolution, Jeremy and his wife, Erin, are quite busy with their 4 year-old twins, Benjamin and Josephine.