Humans are not alone in having infants that emerge facing backwards.
A key feature of human childbirth, long thought to be unique to Homo sapiens — the arrival of the baby facing backwards relative to its mother — has been observed in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees.
The discovery, reported today in Biology Letters1, calls into question the argument that backwards-facing babies were an important factor in the evolution of midwifery in humans. Rather than searching for assistance when they go into labour, pregnant chimps seek solitude.
“It’s clear from our observations that chimp babies are born facing backwards, but they give birth alone,” says lead author Satoshi Hirata, a behavioural biologist at the Great Ape Research Institute of Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories in Tamano, Japan. “So the reverse orientation is clearly not a necessary condition for the evolution of midwifery.”
I now know why I never know if I am coming or going 🙂
HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER EVERYONE.