Modern humans evolved into a taxonomic family of “riders”— we carry our young, or for some of our evolutionary cousins, allow our young to cling to us while we go about our day. Our ancestors, going back to the genus Australopithecus, used infant carriers to adapt carrying strategies for infants who could not effectively cling and to reduce the energetic costs of carrying as a bipedal species. Modern humans evolved in a world where the infant carrier was ubiquitous for all bipedal hominid species. The following posts support infant carrying as an evolutionary adaptation and a biological imperative, as well as highlighting areas that need more research.
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- Aradia’s Quick and Dirty Human Evolution Primer:
- Taxonomic family? Homidea? Neantherthals? Austrolopithi-what? What you may have forgotten since your biology class– or maybe were never taught in the first place.
- Transport Response:
- Why is that kittens and puppies curl up and get calm when picked up and carried by their parent? Why do human babies calm down when they are bounced up a down or rocked, especially when swaddled?
- Evolution of Carrying:
- Among mammals, i.e. breastfeeders, why do some leave their young behind to find food, while others carry them on their bodies? What did our evolutionary ancestors do? What about humans?
- The Costs of Carrying:
- How many calories are needed to carry a baby in-arms vs. in a sling vs. away from the body? How does the morphology of our evolutionary ancestors affect this? How does our morphology affect this?
- The Invention of Sewing:
- When was sewing invented? Did Neatherthals wear clothing? Homo erectus? How did the invention of sewing affect infant carriers? How did it affect migration?
- Baby Feet and Body Hair:
- How do modern primates’ babies cling on to their parent so well? What happens if they can’t cling on? What happens if their parent doesn’t have hair? Can the human variety of infant primate cling on?