Skip to comments.HUMANS WOULD BEAT NEANDERTHALS IN MARATHON
Posted on 01/29/2011 4:56:25 AM PST by Pharmboy
Humans, versus other great apes, are built for running fast and long as opposed to very impressive strength, but what about Neanderthals? If a modern human and a Neanderthal competed in a marathon, who would win?
(Comparison of Neanderthal and Modern Human skeletons. Credit: K. Mowbray, Reconstruction: G. Sawyer and B. Maley, Copyright: Ian Tattersall)
In a short sprint, the Neanderthal might have had a chance, but most fit humans would always win longer races, suggests new research accepted for publication in the Journal of Human Evolution.
Anthropologist David Raichlen of the University of Arizona and his colleagues determined that our modern human ancestors were better runners. The researchers did this by studying the hominids' fossilized remains.
Marathon Running Made Easy (Sort of)
Recent research suggests that the energy cost of running at a given speed is strongly related to the length of certain limb bones. The longer these bones (Achilles tendon moment arm and calcaneal tuber from the calcaneus) are, the more energy it takes for the individual to run.
The scientists' measurements of such bones determined that Neanderthals were lousy at endurance and distance running when compared to modern humans. The sturdy Neanderthal bones, however, were built for long-distance walking and strength.
Humans Left Trees 4.2 Million Years Ago
"Endurance running is generally thought to be beneficial for gaining access to meat in hot environments, where hominins could have used pursuit hunting to run prey taxa into hyperthermia," Raichlen and his team conclude. "We hypothesize that endurance running performance may have been reduced in Neanderthals because they lived in cold climates."
Since there is an inherent trade-off between speed and strength in species throughout the animal kingdom, it is likely that Neanderthals were built more for brawn, with humans evolving lighter, more aerodynamic bodies for running. (This doesn't take into account food consumption and other behavioral factors that can add heft.)
A hypotheical Summer Olympics featuring both Neanderthals and humans would have certainly been memorable, with Neanderthals probably acing events like wrestling, rowing and archery, and humans winning cycling, triathlon and marathon competitions.
In the real-life battle for survival, running and endurance must have won out for prehistoric humans, even when they encountered Neanderthals in Europe, but why? Hopefully future studies can shed further light on this present mystery.
They could probably do more push-ups than we could, ping...
Nice one...but hey, we’re giving you guys the strength events...
We could probably beat them at chess too........
Man, don’t let Obama hear about this. He will be demanding subsidies for Neanderthals....wait...too late...he already is.
The TSA is more homo erectus.... LOL
Probably not. Same brain size as infants. They had larger brain size as adults....
We might have beat them in a foot race but if they ever got their paws around our pencil necks, our earthly races would be run......
There has long been speculation that Neanderthals were fully adapted to temperate latitude ice age Earth, even having a bony protrusion in their sinuses to help warm inhaled air. However, when the Earth warmed, these protrusions could very well have contributed to lethal chronic sinus infections.
Those who have had such infections, lasting six months or more, will testify as to their debilitating effects.
And just fleeing north would be no help, because there is a big difference between cold temperatures with a long growing season, in what are now the temperate latitudes, and the short growing seasons in the far north.
Periods of darkness lasted much longer back then, because there was far greater tilt to the Earth’s axis. Which explains why so few ice age creatures survived.
The last flight I took the TSA guy said to me: “Turn your head and cough”.
It’s a good thing our ancestors could run fast. If the Neos ever got their hands on them, they would be toast.
“We hypothesize that endurance running performance may have been reduced in Neanderthals because they lived in cold climates.”
Well what about all those that lived in the Middle East? Was it cold then? What about the sea level - hundreds of feet lower then today — where any living on the beach, so to speak?
hypothesis, spypothesis the learned types still haven’t a clue
Good thing our Cro-Magnon ancestors invented the SUV to warm the earth.
In no way were they nearly as smart as we...their frontal lobes were much smaller.
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