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250px-Muybridge runner

Bipedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where an organism moves by means of its two rear limbs, or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a bipedal manner is known as a biped /ˈbpɛd/, meaning "two feet" (from the Latin bi for "two" and ped for "foot"). Types of bipedal movement include walking, running, or hopping, on two appendages (typically legs).

Few modern species are habitual bipeds whose normal method of locomotion is two-legged. Within mammals, habitual bipedalism has evolved multiple times, with the macropods, kangaroo rats and mice, springhare, hopping mice, pangolins and homininan apes, as well as various other extinct groups evolving the trait independently. In the Triassic period some groups of archosaurs (a group that includes the ancestors of crocodiles) developed bipedalism; among their descendants the dinosaurs, all the early forms and many later groups were habitual or exclusive bipeds; the birds descended from one group of exclusively bipedal dinosaurs.

A larger number of modern species utilise bipedal movement for a short time. Several non-archosaurian lizard species move bipedally when running, usually to escape from threats. Many primate and bear species will adopt a bipedal gait in order to reach food or explore their environment. Several arboreal primate species, such as Gibbons and Indriids, exclusively utilise bipedal locomotion during the brief periods they spend on the ground. Many animals rear up on their hind legs whilst fighting or copulating. A few animals commonly stand on their hind legs, in order to reach food, to keep watch, to threaten a competitor or predator, or to pose in courtship, but do not move bipedally.

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