Mole rats start evolving bipedalism.

Are they more likely to stand upright like humans as seen in this photo enter image description here

Or is the idea of mole rats walking bent over like pandolins more realistic enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Going by tails alone, pangolins have much longer and heavier tails, meaning they work as a counterbalance and thus allow for this bent pose, mole rats on the other hand would likely go for a more upward position due to their smaller and lighter tails. $\endgroup$ Jun 4, 2020 at 23:33

1 Answer 1

  1. Do they keep their tails? A tail helps with balance across the hip joint. If something causes their tails to reduce, walking with an upright spine becomes more advantageous, as they won't have anything to balance the weight of a body that leans forward. If their tails remain, however, pangolin (or therapod) style bipedalism is much more favorable, and the tail may even beef up to better help with balance.

  2. Do they continue to live in tunnels? If they don't, it could go either way (see discussion of tails above). But if they do, a squatter stance is clearly advantageous, as they will be able to continue to walk through more confined spaces, with lower ceiling heights.

Given that naked mole rats currently do have tails, and do live primarily in underground tunnels, I would expect a horizontal-spine, pangolin-style bipedalism to be much more likely than vertical-spin, human-style bipedalism.


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