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Humans Were Born to Run, Scientists Say

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By Patricia Reaney

LONDON (Reuters) - Humans were born to run and evolved from ape-like creatures into the way they look today probably because of the need to cover long distances and compete for food, scientists said on Wednesday.

From tendons and ligaments in the legs and feet that act like springs and skull features that help prevent overheating, to well-defined buttocks that stabilize the body, the human anatomy is shaped for running.

"We do it because we are good at it. We enjoy it and we have all kinds of specializations that permit us to run well," said Daniel Liberman, a professor of anthropology at Harvard University in Massachusetts.

"There are all kinds of features that we see in the human body that are critical for running," he told Reuters.

Liberman and Dennis Bramble, a biology professor at the University of Utah, studied more than two dozen traits that increase humans' ability to run. Their research is reported in the science journal Nature.

They suspect modern humans evolved from their ape-like ancestors about 2 million years ago so they could hunt and scavenge for food over large distances.

But the development of physical features that enabled humans to run entailed a trade off -- the loss of traits that were useful for being a tree-climber.

"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," Bramble said in a statement.

The conventional theory is that running was a by-product of bipedalism, or the ability to walk upright on two legs, that evolved in ape-like human ancestors called Australopithecus at least 4.5 million years ago.

But Liberman and Bramble argue that it took a few million more years for the running physique to evolve, so the ability to walk cannot explain the transition.

"There were 2.5 million to 3 million years of bipedal walking without ever looking like a human, so is walking going to be what suddenly transforms the hominid body?" said Bramble.

"We're saying 'no, walking won't do that, but running will."'

If natural selection did not favor running, the scientists believe humans would still look a lot like apes.

"Running has substantially shaped human evolution. Running made us human -- at least in the anatomical sense," Bramble added.

Among the features that set humans apart from apes to make them good runners are longer legs to take longer strides, shorter forearms to enable the upper body to counterbalance the lower half during running and larger disks which allow for better shock absorption.

Big buttocks are also important.

"Have you ever looked at an ape? They have no buns," said Bramble.

Humans lean forward when they run and the buttocks "keep you from pitching over on your nose each time a foot hits the ground," he added.

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If humans evolved from mostly walking on all fours like apes to what we are today so that we could run, then why would pretty much any unarmed human be an easy lunch for a cheetah? Seems like when it comes to running the 4-legged animals have the 2-legged ones (other than the ostrich) beat.

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If that were the case then why would we have to be smarter if we were meant to run faster??? and why are there still monkeys anyways? Wouldnt they have been naturally selected for extinction by now being dispaced by us?

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Or perhaps vegetation in the area grew scarce forcing our predecessors to migrate. Those that evolved the ability to run survived those that didn't died. Two legged humans have a distinct advantage to the four legged apes as far as migration goes.

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Yep, that's what the European scientists are up to. LOL. Researching running. Yeah, good...

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why?? Is it because it doesnt fit in your all-knowing common sense?? I feel sorry for those men,working their whole life to find stuff which you can disprove by your common sense within secs.

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Working their life researching "Humans born to run"? What kind of research is that, and WHO CARES???? Go research some new invention, go research medicine, space science, some kind of new knowledge, what the hell is "humans born to run" has to do with anything? Stupid stupid STUPID...

All they did is probably used some gevernment grant or some kind of grant to sit on their butts for a year, and then write 50 pages of crap in the last month, easy money.

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quote:

Originally posted by Wolfheart

why?? Is it because it doesnt fit in your all-knowing common sense?? I feel sorry for those men,working their whole life to find stuff which you can disprove by your common sense within secs

no i meant if your going to defend evolution since supposedly we came from monkies(i dont dismiss the possibility) who are not as smart as humans but there are still alot of dumb humans

lol although they are mostly stupid by choice or circumstance

still no one has answerd my question of why monkies are still monkies and not something more close to a human

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still no one has answerd my question of why monkies are still monkies and not something more close to a human

Easy. The original line (monkies, apes, etc) did well enough but the "new" line tending torwards humans did even better without displacing the original line.

New fossil find might be common ancestor for all apes.

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Scepticism about research is widespread in people who do not enjoy an academic technical background and therefore lack the sufficient education to understand the potential ramifications.

No,scepticism is a philophical idea-which has a solid logical build up- and people can be sceptic while also following science-which is in fact just another philosophical idea.Dont confuse people who are sceptic because of their ignorance and people who are sceptic while still being able to understand science.The latter is also common amongst scientists who see science as a tool for practical needs,not a tool to find absolute truth(which is imo a ridiculous thought).

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Cosmologists play with universe models who integrates up to 13 dimensions, where most humans have already problems to cope with 4.


I believe this has nothing to do with the abstractness of the idea,imo difficulty in understanding science(be it maths,physics..) is because of a lack of common *language* between teacher and student which results in lots of misdefined concepts in students mind.I can even say the religious ideas which are given to them in early childhood causes a lot of the confusion.

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Who is dumb ? The guy who attempt to understand without predjuging, or the one who arbitrarly decide that a given kind of knowledge isn't worth the effort ? The second attitude only make sense if there is the absolute certainty that this knowledge will not lead to other discoveries or not benefit to other research branches. Do you honestly believe that your level of understanding allows you to achieve such certainty ?

Do you honestly believe a human can understand without prejudging? Isnt even the basic argument of science "what I feel(hear,see,...) is true" prejudging?

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MAN< You are gettin away from the point. RUNNING, Humans born to run. I tell you what, tell that to some body builder guy, ROFL, I think humans in Europe were born to run, works well not only with their evolution but in their politics and life as well...ROFL Too funny

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All I know, is that if 40 yrs ago, Europe had researched running and concluded that humans were born to run, which is ridiculous, America would be TWICE the nation it is today.

Hell, it might have even ended racism all together and fostered a collaborative union of ethnic pride never seen before by man!

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Like it or not, Middle-East, Europe & Asia were the sources of civilisation. Ever checked how many native americans play a role in the evolution of the US society ? You don't seem to realize that you are rejecting your own kind. You are very fast at critizising situations but do not allocate the slighest attention to understand the roots of problems. Do you really think that the US would have achieved this level of homogeneity if more than 25 languages were officially spoken in the USA (what automatically mean 25 cultures) ?

HAHAHA! I thought Soback was simply stating that it was stupid for scientists to research running. I don't think it was an attack on Europe. Americans scientists have researched equally stupid things.

Ease up on the international history and cause&effect, would ya?

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Wow Nomad,

Are you feeling a bit bitter or what?

It's politics all the time with you isn't it?

I find it amusing when some biologist pops off with something like this, and then the papers of course run with it.

It hasn't been proven, it will be added to stack of new hypothesis about biology, and when we finally are able to run back the clock on the genes for real, we will finally know.

But that would be unethical, so I guess we will never know for sure...

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someone should just create a real time machine and go see what really happend and maybe everyone will shutup for once

but I guess time isnt really a place... oh well

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I know what happened, (by the way, since it seems like I am picking on Europe, might as well go all the way)

Long long time ago in Europe, guys who lifted rocks and threw it down the hills at their enemies died off, while guys who turned and ran survived. They probably died off because after throwing the rocks they had to run to tell the guys who ran off that it was safe to come back and their poor hearts just couldn't handle the jogs. ROFL So, to make a long story short, (and also throw some political wrangling since Nomad sees it that way anyways) in Europe we now have great runners as we can wittness on world news concerning terrorism and war in the Middle East.

PS< or maybe the rock lifting guys didn't die off after all, maybe they just said to hell with this and travelled to the continent of Norht America which is now known as US. However they had to do it slowly because their hearts couldn't handle running. Maybe that's where we get the saying "Walk slowly and carry a big stick" as oppsed to to "Run faster, solves problems". ROFL That would also support nomads theory of the big guys wanting to come back to their European roots. Hmmm, or is it the European runners want the big guys to come back to chase the enemies away cause there's nowhere left to run..LOL

Just picking at you nomad Don't take it too seriously

But researcing RUNNING< COOOOME OOOON....Europe researches running, they get and article, US researches running, we get Gatorade< ROFL

[ 11-25-2004, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: Soback ]

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