: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Etymology: from Middle English corage > from Anglo-French curage > from Latin cor, meaning…
At first the Anthropologists,
They said we started walking erect,
Exposing our vital organs,
To foes and other dangers,
Like crocus and daffodil
Piercing through hard earth,
Daring a spring frost,
Because our brains were so big,
Because we’d learned to evade…
We’d also learned to fashion weapons.
We were, it seemed,
Smart and courageous apes.
They found the remains
Of bipeds with small skulls.
Ethiopia, 4 Million Years Earlier…
Ardi sat in her favorite tree, as she did most days, only today, as she watched her sister, her mother, and her aunt looking after her 6-month old nephew, she felt a longing she hadn’t felt before.
Her sister, Dani, was two years older, and Ardi had no idea who the father of the child was. One day she simply noticed that Dani’s belly had grown into a round, protruding bulge, several months later the baby came out, and ever since it was abundantly clear to her how much effort children were. The baby could not be left unattended for even a moment, while it was still nursing it was also starting to eat solid food, Dani also needed food, of course, and so she needed lots of help.
Meanwhile, EVERYONE was aware of how much hotter it always seemed to be these days, how certain trees and plants that used to bear fruit year-round now seemed to do so only during a portion of the year. Food had always been abundant and ubiquitous, but this was changing, and life for Ardi and her kind was occasionally touched by tragedy: territorial clashes between clans were punctuated by sporadic lethal violence; attacks by quadrupedal predators at the perimeter of the forest resulted in increasing numbers of disappearances and deaths; and the sick and/or old survived both conditions less often than they used to.
Kofi suddenly seemed to be hanging around all the time, and Ardi couldn’t help noticing him. He was a strong and very agile male, who didn’t show off even though he was feeling the same longing that Ardi was. Most males with THAT on their minds would be acting wildly to attract attention, but the most remarkable thing Kofi did, one day, was to bring two arms-full of fruit, the rarest kind, and set it at the base of Ardi’s tree.
A Kent State University anthropologist, in 2009, upon reading newly released research on Ardipithecus ramidus — nicknamed Ardi, a protohuman dating back 4.4 million years, whose remains featured a small skull, but clear indications that it was a bipedal forest dweller — introduced a new theory for why protohumans began walking erect.
From Smithsonian Magazine:
[The Anthropologist] begins by noting that Ardi’s discoverers say the species lived in a forest. As climatic changes made African forests more seasonal and variable environments, it would have become harder and more time-consuming for individuals to find food. This would have been especially difficult for females raising offspring. At this point, [The Anthropologist] suggests, a mutually beneficial arrangement evolved: Males gathered food for females and their young and in return females mated exclusively with their providers. To be successful providers, males needed their arms and hands free to carry food, and thus bipedalism evolved. This scenario, as with all bipedalism hypotheses, is really hard to test. But earlier this year, researchers offered some support when they found that chimpanzees tend to walk bipedally when carrying rare or valuable foods.
The Anthropologist’s name?
- Four million years ago, some courageous apes began walking upright, exposing their vital organs, including their hearts, to various dangers.
- These apes did this to free their hands to carry food to females with whom they had formed monogamous mating relationships.
- The word courage comes from the Latin cor, meaning heart.
- The last name of the anthropologist who developed the theory tying bipedalism to monogamy: Lovejoy.