Evolution of Movement

The evolution of movement is the story of the progression of Living Things stepping into dimensionally more complex space. Living Things had to discover how to utilize the Time/Space Continuum within which they had emerged, which was revealed to them sequentially, one dimension at a time. This sequential evolution is discussed in the section on the Dimensional Evolution. Once Living Things developed into Animals their further evolution can be discussed from the perspective of breakthroughs in their structures and functions for movement. Said another way – the evolution of their Locomotive Core. The evolution of features of the Locomotive Core is integrated into our physiology, with our more “primitive” movement potentials underlying and establishing a base upon which our more complex movement potentials develop and are expressed. This is observed in our infant developmental reflexes, where infants first explore the most foundational mechanisms of movement which we share with all animals and then refine these patterns into crawling and then walking. This progression is described by these movement patterns, which are discussed individually:


If there is incomplete maturation of any of these patterns, all further maturation will embed compensations and adaptations for the deficit. It is possible to therapeutically assist individuals with challenges across the structural and functional spectrum by identifying and aiding further maturation of these movement mechanisms. The DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESSMENT, TRAINING OVERVIEW and DIAGNOSTIC FRAMEWORKS on this website are here for this purpose. It is worth noting that the environment within which we develop is so removed from the environment within which these developmental patterns evolved that it is extremely rare for this writer to witness the absence of compensations and adaptations in these motor functions in his clients (it is also likely that individuals with a fully matured Locomotive Core would not end up in his office). It is this writer’s belief that nearly all of the chronic musculoskeletal issues we experience extend from incomplete maturation of these developmental patterns – if these patterns have fully matured they would seamlessly integrate with the innate regenerative healing capacities of our bodies, as we can observe them so doing in other animals.

Our ability to move did not evolve independently from other attributes of our neurophysiology. Sensing the surroundings, and making sense of that information is as critical to movement as being able to do something with that information. All three attributes co-evolved from the origins of Life to our most specialized fine motor functions. Therefore incomplete maturation of motor function patterns not only express in how we move, but also in our cognition, behavioral regulation, sensory processing, as well as in our physiology (Body Mass Index/Biochemistry/Strength/Digestion, etc.)

How movement is expressed in our species correlates with this evolutionary journey, and can be dissected into four distinct mechanisms:

Animal Form/Function movement dynamics fall into the category where the arms and legs both act in bilateral symmetry. The head is maintained on the midline. These are commonly called Homologous Movement, which can be view as expansion/contraction of the core along vertical midline of our bodies. Consider how a Jelly moves. In us, these primitive movements are (indirectly) controlled by our Sympathetic Nervous System.

Originally movement was extension and contraction(e.g.: how a snail moves), but rather quickly developed into a free-swimming movement. Dimensionally this type of movement is restricted to movement along a line. Jellies are an example of these early experiments in movement. Fish, amphibians, and reptiles are examples of much more advanced vertebrate physiology that continued to explore evolutionary potentials within this constraint of linear movement and are discussed in the following section.

These mechanisms of movement are associated with:

Vertebrate Form/Function movement dynamics fall into the category where the arms and legs act cross laterally(IE: right arm/left leg). The head movement swivels up/down on the Atlas and rotates as to touch the shoulder with the ear. The primary head sense is Vision. These are commonly called Heterolateral or Cross Lateral Movements, which form the basis of crawling. Consider how a reptile moves. The movements are associated with the Brain Stem (Reticular Activating System etc.)

Because this movement dynamic is associated with movement along a line, this developmental level is associated with the FRONT/BACK(Frontal Plane). This is the line that assesses the front and back of the body relative to the center of gravity of the body. A very common example of imbalance here is the “head forward” posture, where we lead with our heads.

These mechanisms of movement are associated with:

Homolateral movements are those where our bilateral halves move independently but cooperatively. Throwing a ball is an example, requiring one side of the body to support the other.

/Mammal Form/Function movement dynamics fall into the category where the arms and legs act homolaterally (IE: right arm/right leg). The dominant sense is Hearing is the sense that coevolved with this complex capacity. These are commonly called Homolateral Movements, which form the basis of complex movement over an area. Consider how a Cat moves. The movements are associated with the /Mid Brain.
The head movement swivels left/right between the Atlas(C1) and Axis(C2) enabling positioning of the ears to locate the origin of a sound.

These mechanisms of movement are associated with: