I’ve been dragging my feet, not in the sense of putting something off that I should have got around to but rather scraping my feet along the ground. You see I have been given some very comfortable new slippers. They are a bit like boots, made from plush and I jokingly call them my bear’s paws. They are a little big and so when I walk they slop and drag on the ground.
I gather for most people this would be of little interest yet it has made me think about the evolutionary development of walking.
The battle for survival has been one of investment against return. Energy is invested in living and those species that survive are those that make the most efficient use of that energy and are able to pass such advantages on to the coming generations.
For us humans, walking was essential to go about our daily activities. I have said was as it is less important for us now as other forms of movement are available. The act of walking consumes a lot of energy. Lifting the weight of your legs against the force of gravity takes effort, just try walking up the stairs. The effect of walking must be compensated by the energy we can gain by doing so, either in calories or cash earned to buy food.
It would make evolutionary sense therefore, that individuals who are able to lift their feet just enough off the ground to be able to walk effectively and no more would be at an advantage in that they would expend less energy for their reward. They would be getting a better return on their investment. Assuming that gait is an inheritable characteristic then their progeny would also be more successful.
My sloppy slippers show that the gap between my feet and the ground when walking is very small, perhaps a couple of centimetres. This is no accident for the reasons I have given.
Feet draggers and prancers beware. Evolution will see you off.