Our ancestors and running


A quick post while I am watching prehistoric autopsy. They are looking at our one of our earliest ancestors, Homo erectus trying to build an idea of how and why we evolved in the way we have.

They have been looking at a skeleton of a young boy, named ‘Nariokotome boy’ building a picture of what life was like for him 1.5 million years ago. The reason I am writing about this is that the discussion is touched on how he was evolved for long distance walking/running.

To list a few of the reasons that they have discussed:

  • He evolved to lose body hair to enable efficiency in sweating and managing heat during persistent activity
  • The inner ear evolved to enable him to maintain focus on the distance while his head was moving around
  • Based on the skeletons shape, the size of his glute muscles
  • The shape of the skull and muscles around the neck so the head remains stable when in motion

This is not a new topic, with many books on this topic (Born to Run to name one) but I still find it fascinating that as a species running is in our blood, it is something that we evolved to do in order to travel, to hunt and to survive.

If anyone ever says that running is bad for you (risk of injury etc) just say that we have been doing it 2 million years, so it can’t be that bad!

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