Arm swinging not vestigial, according to reports in The Independent, Royal Society News and Reuters, 29 July 2009.
Swinging your arms when you walk has been considered an evolutionary leftover from when people used to be four legged creatures. Researchers from the University of Michigan, USA and Delft University of Technology, Netherlands have carried out a study to see the effects of arm swinging on how much energy is used when walking. In a series of experiments reminiscent of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks they got human volunteers to walk in the natural manner with arms swinging opposite arm to leg, and then in unnatural ways with arms held still by the sides or arms swinging with the same side leg. They found the normal arm swinging saved energy and helped counteract the twisting of the body that occurs as weight shifts from one leg to the other.
Steven Collins, a biomechanical engineer at Delft University of Technology, explained that the experiments “showed that normal arm swinging made walking much easier. Holding the arms at one’s sides increased the effort of walking – measured by metabolic rate – by 12 per cent, which is quite a lot of walking, about the same as walking 20 per cent faster or carrying a 10 kg backpack.” In their report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society the researchers wrote: “Although arm swinging is relatively easy to achieve, its effect on energy use during gait is significant. Rather than a facultative relic of the locomotion needs of our quadrupedal ancestors, arm swinging is an integral part of the energy economy of human gait.” Steven Collins commented: “This puts to rest the theory that arm swinging is a vestigial relic from our quadrupedal ancestors.”
Editorial Comment: Here is another example of how evolutionary belief in vestigial organs is useless for science. The discovery described above was made in spite of evolutionary theory, not because of it. If you don’t know why something happens the scientific approach is to do more research and find out. The results of these experiments confirm the belief that human beings are designed to walk upright which means that a creation starting point is a much better basis for science.
Evidence News, 2 September 2009
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