Endurance running may be key to evolution of human body form

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A collection of seemingly random physiological traits that arose millions of years ago, at the evolutionary split of chimpanzees and Homo erectus, conspired to make humans unusually strong endurance runners, permitting our ancient ancestors to compete for food with speedy four-legged carnivores and greatly shaping the distinctive human body form that we know today.

So say anthropologists at Harvard University and the University of Utah, who report on the evolution of traits such as a small ridge at the base of our skulls, shoulders decoupled from our heads, an extensive series of springy tendons along the back of our legs and feet, and well-defined buttocks in the Nov. 18 issue of the journal Nature.

"These esoteric anatomical features make humans surprisingly good runners. Over long distances, we can outrun our dogs and give many horses a good race," says Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of anthropology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "What these features and fossil facts appear to be telling us is that running evolved in order for our direct ancestors to compete with other carnivores for access to the protein needed to grow the big brains that we enjoy today."

Protein and fat derived from prey are excellent food for growing the bodies and brains of predators; Lieberman suggests running may have fueled growth of the human brain by relaxing constraints on human acquisition of protein and fat.

"We are very confident that strong selection for running - which came at the expense of the historical ability to live in trees - was instrumental in the origin of the modern human body form," says Dennis M. Bramble, a professor of biology at Utah. "Running has substantially shaped human evolution. Running made us human - at least in an anatomical sense. We think running is one of the most transforming events in human history. We are arguing the emergence of humans is tied to the evolution of running." <

Contact: Steve Bradt
Harvard University

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Unified physics theory explains animals running, flying and swimming
2. Vampire bats keep out of trouble by running
3. How running made us human
4. Time running out for South Asian vultures, ecologists warn
5. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
6. New textbook illuminates the close links between evolutionary and molecular biology
7. Coelacanth fossil sheds light on fin-to-limb evolution
8. Genomics study provides insight into the evolution of unique human traits
9. New proteomics research promises to revolutionize biomedical discovery
10. Species detectives track unseen evolution
11. Study identifies energy efficiency as reason for evolution of upright walking

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 25, 2021 , ... Phlexglobal announced ... Planet Group, has selected Phlexglobal and its innovative regulatory SaaS software, PhlexSubmission, as ... a comprehensive review of five regulatory software companies, with the review team including ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... 25, 2021 , ... The 2021 Virtual Conference on Clinical Trial Supply-Europe ... More and more, clinical trial supply conferences are featuring speakers and forums that ... Asymmetrex’s founder and CEO, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., presented a talk ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... ... March 23, 2021 , ... G-CON Manufacturing (G-CON), the ... by Matica Biotechnology (Matica Bio), a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing ... the cleanroom build out for its new GMP production facility in College Station, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ... Life Sciences and Healthcare firms of all sizes, adds depth to its team ... specialist. Pardillo, who earned his doctorate in computational chemistry from Florida International University ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ABI Wellness, ... and reporting approach designed under CEO Mark Watson, today announced a webinar dedicated ... featuring guest speakers Dr. Cameron Clark, Neuropsychologist and Founder of Sharp Thinking, and ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... ... The Xtalks editorial team is pleased to announce the launch of the ... joined by editorial team members Ayesha Rashid, Sydney Perelmutter and Mira Nabulsi to discuss ... including insights from industry experts. , The Xtalks Life Science podcast will feature ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... Conn. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2021 , ... ... develops solutions for characterizing microbiome populations down to the strain level, recently unveiled ... applications. , Not all microbes are created equal: some are easy to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: