What was the first human made tool? The arrow head? The spear? Possibly. But far more likely is the tool that has not survived in the archeological record..... the baby carriers made from animal skins and fibrous nets.
How did the early humans come to walk on two legs, rather than four? Darwin, amongst others, believed it was to enable them to use weapons and tools for defense and/or hunting but this theory is problematic since humans were bipedal a very long time before the earliest first found tools. Of course the very first tools and weapons could have been made from materials which, like the supposed first baby carriers, have not stood the test of time.
'Perhaps…the need to support an altricial (completely helpless) newborn may even have contributed to the evolution of bipedalism (walking on two legs), and some people have suggested that the first ‘tool’ made by early humans was some sort of sling or net carrying device.'
Katherine Dettwyler, PhD, a professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware
Other anthropologists have suggested that early humans developed to bipedal to allow them to carry things like, maybe a baby!
It is my own personal theory that humans started to carry their newborn babies in their arms before they started to use tools and weapons. Of course, once they had spears to throw they needed a way to secure a baby to their body.
Have you tried to throw a spear whilst holding a baby in arms? No? Well, to be honest, neither have I but I can imagine its not easy!
I have attempted to throw a ball for my dog using our Chuck It, whilst holding a baby. Not easy, I can tell you! But with a baby in a carrier almost anything is possible, right!?!
So my theory is the following;
1) Humans walked on all fours
2) Humans walked upright, carrying babies in their arms
3) Humans walked upright wearing their baby
4) Humans walked upright wearing their baby and used spears and other tools for protection and hunting.
A bit like this awesome pic from Onya, in their fabulous piece on 'Evolutionary Parenting', except I would put the last two early humans the other way round, with the spear touting guy wearing a bub on his or her back!
Of course I'm no expert but it makes sense to me and as it happens both myself and a few experts in the field believe that babywearing was integral to the evolution of human kind.
Over the past couple of hundred years we've kind of forgotten about babywearing (thanks Queen Victoria!) and its timely that we're beginning to refind this fabulous parenting tool because, amongst other things, we all know that the zombie apocalypse is fast approaching! And you know what will allow the human race to survive this era of human evolution right?
Yup- you've got it!! Babywearing!! Just wait and see.
In the next season of 'Walking Dead' I am sure we will see baby Judith either worn in a grotty old Ergo that they've stumbled upon in a deserted baby shop or she'll be wrapped on a wearer in an old towel, sheet or tablecloth. In time she'll be worn in a high back carry and will act as a zombie spotter, using baby sign language to point out the zombies on the horizon. You mark my words.... it'll happen. And if it doesn't I may just have to stop watching because it just won't be believable any more!!
Clearly when our species is under attack from whatever source, be it a zombie virus, aliens or evolved apes, if we can wear our babies we can keep them safe and thus protect the further advancement of the human race. There will come a time when the world will be populated by humans who all babywear, because it will be the only way to ensure the survival of our kind.
Babywearers will rule the world!
Darwin, it seems, almost had it right when he coined the phrase 'Survival of the fittest' except it should have been...
'Survival of the babywearers'!