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norseman

Homo Erectus and persistent hunting

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http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2012/06/long_distance_running_and_evolution_why_humans_can_outrun_horses_but_can_t_jump_higher_than_cats_.html

 

We’ve inherited large leg and foot joints from those ancestors, which spread out high forces that must be absorbed when running. To help ensure stability on two legs, we have big gluteus maximus muscles. (Chimps, which are incapable of distance running, have comparatively tiny butts.) Our clever torsos are designed to "counter-rotate" versus the hips as we run, also aiding stability. And we have an unusually large percentage of fatigue-resistant, slow-twitch muscle fibers, which make for endurance rather than speed. By contrast, most animals are geared for sprinting because they’re either predators that chase or prey that run away, and their muscles thus have much higher percentages of fast-twitch fibers than ours. (Cheetahs' hind-leg muscles are the fast-twitch-richest of all.)

But what most sets us apart as runners is that we’re really cool—we naked apes are champion sweaters and can dissipate body heat faster than any other large mammal. Our main rivals for the endurance-running crown fall into two groups: migratory ungulates, such as horses and wildebeest, and social carnivores, such as dogs and hyenas. They can easily out-sprint us by galloping. But none can gallop very far without overheating—they largely rely on panting to keep cool, and they can't pant when galloping, for panting involves taking very rapid, shallow breaths that would interfere with respiration when running. Dogs can gallop for only about 10 to 15 minutes before reverting to a trot, and so their distance-running speed tops out at about 3.8 meters per second. Horses' average distance-running speed is 5.8 meters per second—a canter. Wildebeests’ is 5.1 meters per second.

Elite human runners, however, can sustain speeds up to 6.5 meters per second. Even run-of-the-mill joggers typically do between 3.2 and 4.2 meters per second, which means they can outrun dogs at distances greater than two kilometers.

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Thanks for sharing. A very interesting read.

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Interesting indeed. I've heard this before and it is something that gave our ancestors an advantage in many ways. I'd add smarts and agility to that as well. Being able to out smart, out climb, out run most other species would be a distinct edge. Interesting we are discussing Gigantopithicus in another thread as Homo erectus is thought to have helped bring about it's extinction, through competition and possibly even hunting them.

 

Also worth noting that Homo erectus fossils led to the debate of the long held belief that Asia was where modern humans evolved and subsequently  led to Darwin changing that theory into the modern accepted one that humans evolved from Africa.

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(The author of that must have never seen me run... ) 

 

Yes indeed. This is a fascinating concept, one that was explored in the recent best selling book, "Born to Run".  The author  Christopher McDougall makes a number of very well supported claims about the role running played in hominid evolution. His words were so compelling to me that I took up running at age 58, and I had not pounded the ground since I was 17. What I remember most about those earlier running experiences is the ridiculously overbuilt shoes and the tyranny of those who wanted to instruct us all on how a  "real" runner ran. The resulting pain was enough to put me off of it for 40 years.  McDougall made the case of "screw it...run the way it feels best to you".  After taking that advice I've come to enjoy the activity and it might just tack some additional years onto my life.

 

Sorry for the personal digression.

 

I can say though that the ability of the human body (even this poor excuse of one) to adapt is remarkable and continues to amaze.    

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53 minutes ago, WSA said:

(The author of that must have never seen me run... )

 

LOL, same here WSA.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, WSA said:

(The author of that must have never seen me run... ) 

 

Yes indeed. This is a fascinating concept, one that was explored in the recent best selling book, "Born to Run".  The author  Christopher McDougall makes a number of very well supported claims about the role running played in hominid evolution. His words were so compelling to me that I took up running at age 58, and I had not pounded the ground since I was 17. What I remember most about those earlier running experiences is the ridiculously overbuilt shoes and the tyranny of those who wanted to instruct us all on how a  "real" runner ran. The resulting pain was enough to put me off of it for 40 years.  McDougall made the case of "screw it...run the way it feels best to you".  After taking that advice I've come to enjoy the activity and it might just tack some additional years onto my life.

 

Sorry for the personal digression.

 

I can say though that the ability of the human body (even this poor excuse of one) to adapt is remarkable and continues to amaze.    

 

Good for you! I’m a rider of horse flesh first. Walker second...... I only sprint if I’m running from a Bear or pulling to make a block in football. :)

Edited by norseman
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Yep it was pretty danged painful the first few months. I've always been a walker and a mountain biker...low-twitch my specialty, and heavy dead-lifts preferred. At 6'1", 205 lbs. I'm quite the lumbering beast on two feet. I had all the dire warning about how I was going to wear out my hips/knees, etc. To them I replied, "I'm pushing 60. What, supposedly, am I saving myself for?"  So far so good....

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Posted (edited)

WSA, EXCELLENT attitude. Norseman, Pulling guard? You seem pretty good size for a guard so.......pulling tackle? That would be a rare breed suitable for a Sasquatch hunter LOL. In either case, as an outside corner back in my younger days, I would not want to see you charging at me down the line from weak side while I was stepping across the scrimmage line trying to turn the play inside.  And certainly not coming at full throttle at my then 165 lb. fighting weight :o Besides, I took it in the face plenty of times in my duties of stacking up the fullback.

Edited by hiflier
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