Running turned humans into what they are today, U. of U. biologist says
Marathoners: A new study says our physiology proves people gave up trees for running, but it can't explain why
By Greg Lavine
The Salt Lake Tribune
Runners check watches before the start of the first Salt Lake City Marathon in April. University of Utah and Harvard scientists say the ability to run long distances made humans into what we look like today. (Al Hartmann/Tribune file photo)
The thousands of runners who step up to the starting lines of marathons each year may be following in the footsteps of our earliest human ancestors.
Scientists in Utah and Massachusetts suggest in a new study that the act of long-distance running made us into what we look like today.
In a sense, humans were born - or at least evolved - to run.
It remains unclear what motivated early humans to start running across the savannahs of Africa 2 million years ago, said University of Utah biologist Dennis Bramble, who along with Harvard University anthropologist Dan Lieberman authored the study that appears in today's edition of the journal Nature.
Some possible explanations include running animal prey to exhaustion on the scorching plains or racing other creatures to reach freshly killed carcasses.
The link between human evolution and endurance running intrigued Draper marathoner Dennis Simonaitis, who said the "universal challenge" of the sport helps drive him to run. And an arduous training regiment gets him to the finish line.
"I've always thought we were not meant to do this," Simonaitis said, noting the body's incredible fuel requirements needed for long-distance running.
Bramble agreed that people were not designed to dash 26 miles.
But a review of fossil evidence and previous studies point to the idea that early humans were well-suited to run a few miles at a time.
About 2 million years ago, early humans developed adaptations that set them further apart from their primate cousins. Changes in the lower leg and foot allowed efficient running, Bramble said.
"If we had only walked, we would not look like the people we do today," Bramble said. "No amount of walking would do that."
Lieberman said that developments like the Achilles tendon - which essentially acts as a spring - are only used in the act of running.
Evolving features, such as longer legs and arched feet, also aided in running.
One possible reason researchers have overlooked running is the fact that people are not exactly speed demons on the track, he said.
"Your typical Chihuahua could probably outrun a human over short distances," said Lieberman, who runs a few miles a day. "We're pathetic sprinters."
But take a longer view of running, and humans start looking better.
Bramble first heard of this idea from a former graduate student, and current colleague, David Carrier, in the 1980s. Carrier looked at how humans regulate temperature while in motion, and thought that maybe people were made to run. Perhaps early humans ran animals to exhaustion.
"I didn't buy it," Bramble said of Carrier's initial running claims. But the research started Bramble thinking.
Why early humans ran stands as a lingering question. Lieberman said while it is possible people could have run down prey, it is a costly way to live.
Lieberman and Bramble instead lean toward the idea that ancient humans living on the plains would look for signs of food, such as vultures circling above a carcass. Breaking into a trot would allow people to get to the food source faster to feast on meat, bone marrow and brain, he said.
An early human, Australopithecus, had an ape-like appearance but could walk upright. These ancient ancestors, dating back to 4.5 million years ago, could also climb the trees of their forest homes.
"This paper shows that Australopithecus was adapted for short distance walking and tree climbing, but early Homo [sapien] had a suite of changes in the body that were adapted to endurance running," said Henry McHenry, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, who was not part of the study.
Bramble said humans gradually traded in their tree-climbing traits, like short legs and long arms, for the ability to run.
"Our hope is that this will help us have a better understanding of human evolution," Bramble said.
Sleeplessly, I had to leave the morning after the election and couldn't get my internet connection to work in the hotel Delta Centre Ville in Montreal.
SHEEZ, my Canadian cousins (Mom is an Acadian from Nova Scotia) are totally wacked out by our glorious elections. Everywhere I went, as soon as they found out I was an American I heard expressions of incredulity and outrage. The entire Socialist world is angry and upset at us "stupid" Americans.
However, being half French Canadian and a certified lover of that delightful country, I found myself being much kinder than I would be with my American Lefty friends.
I took the position in my responses that they couldn't think any differently given that their news sources are so totally and completely slanted against Republicans and all other non-socialists. They are basically ignorant of how the US really works and how we are so much more successful than they are in every measurable way.
Because of our Republican Party we -
1 - have much better health care than they do,
2 - have 50% higher disposable income per capita on average than they do,
3 - have twice the living space per capita than they do,
4 - are much more entrepreneurial than they are
5 - and, most importantly, we are a much more high achieving population than the under-achievers in Canada and Socialist Europe.
Is there any wonder that the Socialist dominated media in America, Canada and Europe can't afford to tell the truth and thus condemn their readers to a life of ignorance, relative poverty and spiritual emptiness?
Since John Kerry threw away someone else's medals,
drove someone else's SUV,
married someone else's wife,
and inherited someone else's money,
let's votefor him to be president of
someone else's country!
As a Republican Red Sox fan I am outraged that Kerry is trying to ride their glory, especially in the advertisement aired in the middle of our celebration of our great victory in St. Louis last night. First of all, most Red Sox fans are Republicans as is the great Curt Schilling.
I well remember that LBJ wanted to defeat the Commies in Vietnam but the Pacifist Democrat establishment sabotaged him and the war effort and dishonored all Vietnam Veterans. This same thing would happen to a President Kerry if he tried to prosecute the War on Terror and Americans would die.
After watching Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony on CSPAN the other night, it became obvious that he is a PACIFIST. Any objective reading of history will show that while Pacifists aren’t evil, that PACIFISM IS DEFINITELY EVIL.
I’m currently studying early twentieth century European history and the parallels to today are clear and terrifying. England was culturally controlled by Bloomsbury Group Leftwing Pacifist Academic Idealists (LWPAIs). These people were committed to unilateral disarmament in the teeth of the frantic military buildups of Hitler and Togo.
For example, a British Labor Prime Minister of the thirties was pushing for total disarmament “come what may,” exactly as Hitler was building 800 bombers with which he intended to pulverize London. This idealistic politician thought it would be “dangerous” and a great waste of badly needed resources to build any fighters at all, much less enough to defend the homeland from the second most vicious killer, after Stalin, in world history.
In another enlightening example, a group of prominent British clergymen wanted to travel to Manchuria and “place their bodies physically between the Japanese and Chinese armies” believing that their pacifist woo woos would somehow stop those murderers in their tracks and bring about peace and harmony to that sadly brutalized continent.
Today we still have LWPAIs and John Kerry is their leader. I fully expect to hear from some historically illiterate LWPAIs incredulously asking me “Do you really compare Osama bin Ladin to Adolph Hitler?” Well the answer is that your ancestral LWPAIs thought Hitler wanted peace and “Uncle Joe” Stalin was the most enlightened leader on the planet. These clowns are so blinded by their “beautiful” ideology that they are totally incapable of seeing the truth.
The work of these beautiful dreamers directly caused the deaths of scores of millions of human beings. How in the hell are they able to blind themselves to the evil they’ve done?
Around three or four million human beings were killed by Southeast Asian Communists directly as a result of the “work” of John Kerry and his supporters. Did anyone hear Kerry mention the wishes of the South Vietnamese peoples in his erudite but wrongheaded Congressional testimony?
The North Vietnamese murderers love John Kerry.
The Khmer Rouge murderers loves John Kerry.
Most of my Vietnamese friends hate John Kerry.
Two thirds of all Vietnam Veterans hate John Kerry.
John Kerry’s pacifist beliefs render him incapable of defending America.
This man is dangerous. He must not only be defeated, BUT HE MUST BE HUMILIATED.
Kerry was dumber than half the Naval officer wannabees according to the test on his website.
Bush, on the other hand, was smarter than two thirds of the Airforce officer wannabees according to his records.
This shows Kerry with a 120 IQ and Bush with 125.
2 - Kerry was also a legacy at Yale.
3 - Bush was honorably discharged from the Guard after fullfilling his military obligation.
4 - Kerry was dishonorably discharged from the Navy after committing treason negotiating with the Communists in Paris while still a Naval officer. He got that changed after he was elected to the Senate. This is why he won't allow all his records to be released.
5 - As Dukakis Lt. Governor he presided over the creation of Taxachusetts (since dismantled by a series of good Republican governors - Thank God)
6 - Not a single charge made by the Swift Boat Veterans has been sisproved or even contested. Their vilification by the DNC and its controlled media is strictly ad hominem.
7 - Real Red Sox fans hate him. Kerry knows absolutely nothing about our Red Sox. He referred to "The Great Manny Ortez" and was booed when his girly throw bounced before home plate when he was asked to throw out the first pitch at Fenway (it was his first time in Fenway).
8 - More than two thirds of his Vietnam Veteran Comrades can't stand him. He could never be an effective Commander in Chief.
9 - Kerry would have to reinstate the draft if he is elected because most military types hate him and will get out at the first oportunity, or not volunteer in the first place.
This should be obvious to anyone who pays attention. For example, who's the better husband, George Bush (either one) or Bill Clinton? Even John Kerry and TH Kerry's marriage is more of a business relationship designed to use her money to get power than a traditional child rearing family.
Republicans espouse and strive to achieve a life mitigated by the morality and traditions of Western Civilization. On the other hand, Democrats like to point out others' moral failings to justify their own. In fact, at least half of all Democrats don't even believe in personal morality at all.
To most Democrats, morality is a matter of espousing left wing philosophy and has nothing whatsoever to do with their own personal deeds and behaviours.
The only time personal morality comes into Democrat thoughts and words are those occasional times when they think they see a moral failing in a Conservative, and then watch out.
It is becoming increasingly clear in this election cycle that Left Wing Democrats feel a very visceral hatred towards outwardly morally upright Conservatives. This is the only reason they hate George W. Bush so intensley.
How else can you explain the way they bend over backwards trying to justify convoluted explanations of how Bush is a "liar," violating every fashion of common sense, critical reasoninng and pure logic.
To all you single women out there, ,if you want to marry a man you can never trust, marry a Democrat.
If you want to marry a man you can count on, marry a Republican.
This guy is a very good Ambulance Chaser and nothing else. He's an expert at conning simpletons and has no background whatsoever that qualifies him to be President of the US. How low has the modern Democrat Party gotten?
THIS POST IS COPIED FROM OUR FRIENDS AT THE SWIFTBOAT VETS -
A reporter for a major press syndicate has been interviewing me, and a sneak preview of the story is at http://www.vdare.com/sailer/kerry_iq_lower.htm
Some of you were not in on the hush-hush that led up to this. I didn’t want to make an announcement until it had been documented and nailed down like Florida plywood in September. I didn’t want to look like CBS.
When I had completed my research I contacted a national reporter who enthusiastically began independently validating my work. While he was gathering quotes from IQ experts and writing the story I needed to keep things quiet. We don’t need to keep it secret anymore.
Many people assumed Bush was stupid because he spoke with a regional dialect and exhibited a personable, “down home” demeanor. Likewise many people thought Kerry was smart because he had an East Coast (Boston) accent and a patrician demeanor. Surprisingly, even many of my fellow Mensans share this bias with the general population. Most Mensans think Kerry is smart and Bush is stupid.
I am an Iowa farm boy, and have lived with the bigotry of city people who just assume that a country boy is stupid. The most obvious example of this regional bigotry in America is that many blue state people think the red state people are stupid.
I also serve as Gifted Child Coordinator. In that position I have come to see many gifted children who were also learning disabled in some area. I am a math idiot, but I still belong to Mensa. I am reminded of a brilliant young MENSA Scholarship winner who stumbled painfully reading his written “thank you” at the awards banquet. Over the years I have become sensitive to the cruel stereotypes which imply that gifted children are stupid. I endured this myself as a child. So did many of you. Let’s just say I am sensitized to the issue of calling people stupid because of personal habits or eccentricities.
Being personally irritated with this cultural prejudice, I started to do some research of my own.
Here is what the research shows:
Linda Gottfredson, co-director of the University of Delaware-Johns Hopkins Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society, told United Press International: "I recently converted Bush's SAT score to an IQ using the high school norms available for his age cohort. Educational Testing Service happened to have done a study of representative high school students within a year or so of when he took the test. I derived an IQ of 125, which is the 95th percentile." In other words, only one out of 20 people would score higher.
Another IQ expert, Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, the co-author of the bestseller "The Bell Curve," came up with a similar result when asked by UPI. Noting that everybody except high school dropouts takes the PSAT when they are sophomores, Murray calculated from PSAT scores that "I think you're safe in saying that Dubya's IQ, based on his SAT score, is in excess of 120, which puts him in the top 10 percent of the distribution, but I wouldn't try to be more precise than that." By Steve Sailer - UPI National Correspondent http://www.isteve.com/
I am somewhat disappointed with these results because what I wanted to be able to say is that Bush could join Mensa but Kerry could not. As it turns out, neither candidate can join Mensa.
How do I know that Kerry could not join Mensa? I already had Kerry’s Navy records re his IQ. They are posted on the Kerry campaign website in a document called Officers Qualification Test. http://www.johnkerry.com/about/john_kerry/military_records.html
I am comfortable with the accuracy of saying Kerry has an IQ of 115 to 118 as compared to Bush having an IQ of 125 to 128. While this is not as dramatic a story as I hoped, I still think this will be a slack-jawed surprise to most people, except for the “good old boys”. Yep, you guessed it, some red state people think blue state people are stupid.
Conclusion # 1: George Bush is a man with superior intelligence who is portrayed as stupid, because of the cultural bigotry of others.
Conclusion # 2: Kerry isn’t stupid either. A 115 IQ will do the trick. John Kennedy’s IQ was 117. But no matter how one looks at it Bush is smarter than Kerry.
I know that really goes down hard for some folks. Part of their hatred of Bush is he is stupid. Well, if “W” is stupid, Kerry is stupider!
IQ DESCRIPTION PERCENT OF ADULTS
Above130 Very superior 2.2
120-129 Superior 6.7
110-119 Bright normal 16.1
90-109 Average 50.0
80-89 Dull normal 16.1
70-79 Borderline 6.7
Below 70 Defective 2.2