Why do some animals come out of the womb walking/swimming?


I’ve always wondered this. Like a giraffe can walk within a few hours. Fish and stingrays come out swimming immediately. It seems as though humans don’t have very many instincts other than to eat and cry. So I’m wondering about the technical difference.

In: Biology

They’re able to develop further in the womb.

Humans brains growing (probably after discovering fire and being able to cook and eat meat) caused the head to grow as well which made child birth have to happen faster than it normally would. This is why human babies are so useless (aka can’t crawl or anything) for months after they are born.

It’s for survival. Example: baby giraffes can walk coming out because if they are in the wild a lion would most likely attack the weakest link .

So this is actually a very interesting difference between humans and other animals. To a certain extent, all animals have functions they know how to do from birth. We didn’t have to learn to cry, or breathe, but as humans what we know off the bat is very limited. Compare this to a giraffe and they can walk within minutes of birth.

In these wild animals, the advantage of knowing all this when you’re born is huge as it allows you to survive. However, it limits their ability to adapt. As were born with the bare necessities, humans are able to learn and adapt to so much more in our lives than these wild animals would, hence why we are able to live in every climate (more or less) on earth.

All reproduction is a balance between being precocial or alticial. Altricial animals invest a lot of time taking care of their fewer number of young, allowing them to develop less in the womb and become more complex beings, so humans develop brains. Precocial animals maximise their chances of survival by having as many young as possible and giving them the best chance in life by making them incredibly physiologically functional at birth so they’re adapatable. Precocial animals appear due to predation pressure, where they’re heavily predated so need many young to have a chance at any surviving.

Every species exists on a spectrum between these adapted to it’s risk of predation and complexity of avoidance techniques.