Cultivated rice (Oryza sativa L.) was domesticated from the Asian wild species O. rufipogon. Compared with cultivated rice, wild rice has spikelets/seeds with long barbed awns. In order to evaluate the role of awns in wild rice, four seed groups with different awn lengths (full, half, quarter and no awns) were prepared, and the following seed dispersal movements were investigated under simulated natural conditions as observed in the tropical Asian habitat: (1) seed detachment from the parent plant; (2) falling angle of mature seed; (3) ability to slip into small spaces; (4) horizontal movement on the ground and (5) horizontal movement in water. As a result, awns were found to enhance the detachment of matured seeds from the panicles in the initial seed dispersal step. They regulated vertical orientation in the air, and the vertical form may enable seeds to squeeze to the ground. The awned seeds also showed advantages in horizontal movements on the ground and in the water. In most of the experiments, seeds with full awns showed the best performance for seed dispersal, suggesting that wild rice keeps long awns to survive under natural conditions. Since seed awning is dominantly controlled by wild functional alleles at several loci, wild rice may be able to prevent a drastic reduction of awn length.