Why did kangaroos evolve to jump?

Only a handful of animals in history have hopped on two feet like the kangaroo, and their journey began 25 million years ago

The ancestors of modern kangaroos were much smaller that their giant descendants and lived in trees. They hopped from branch to branch in search of fruit and leaves, but the Earth’s temperature was on the rise. The tropical forests of Australia eventually became vast open grasslands. Leaping between tree branches quickly evolved into hopping along the ground, and red kangaroos can reach speeds of 55 kilometres (35 miles) per hour.

Their upright stance also helps keep the joey safely in the pouch when the mother is moving. There is also evidence that having longer legs than arms helps a newborn joey climb up the mother’s body to her pouch, and the adults are stuck with that configuration for life.


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Image from flickr.com/photos/28974995