Babies Crawling Might Be a Recent Evolutionary Development

Geo Beats
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Not all babies go through a phase of crawling on their hands and knees before they learn to walk, and research suggests that crawling might be a fairly recent evolutionary development.

Not all babies go through a phase of crawling on their hands and knees before they learn to walk, and research suggests that crawling might be a fairly recent evolutionary development.

While doing an anthropological study of people that live in the southeast Asian island of Papua New Guinea, one of the researchers noticed that they hadn’t seen any of the babies crawling around on all fours.

David Tracer, a professor from the University of Colorado who worked on the study said: “For most of evolutionary history, kids were not put on the ground to shield them from pathogens or predation, so crawling is definitely the evolutionary novelty.”

In Papua New Guinea parasites are a concern, while in Africa and other regions predators can prey on young children, so in order to protect them they are carried around or held.

Babies are reportedly held by their siblings or mother 86 percent of the time for the first year of their life.

Elsewhere, babies in parts of Africa and Indonesia learn to walk without going through a preliminary phase of crawling.

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