How did humans evolve “athletically” ?

I’ve read an interview conducted with Dan Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology and put some of his thoughts in bullet format.  The link to the full interview can be found at the bottom of this blogpost.

  • most popular sports at Olympics: power sports: 100m dash for ex.
  • however, IF you think about humans as being POWER athletes, then really we are “wimps”, compared to other animals
  • Usain Bolt can run 10.4 m/s.  Any goat (yes, any goat or sheep) can run twice as fast, with no training!
  • typical chimpanzee is ~2 to 5 times more powerful than a human (and they weigh less).
  • long distances, however, is where humans shine.  In some cases (high temp.), humans can outrun a horse, and with comparatively little orthopedic/musculoskeletal repercussions (he emphasizes that even non-athletes can run a marathon with a bit of training), i.e. it’s not something extraordinary for humans, unlike Bolt’s sprint time, which is for humans
  • “We’re actually remarkable endurance athletes, and that endurance athleticism is deeply woven into our bodies, literally from our heads to our toes. We have adaptations in our feet and our legs and our hips and pelvises and our heads and our brains and our respiratory systems. We even have neurobiological adaptations that give us a runner’s high, all of which help make us extraordinary endurance athletes. We’ve lost sight at just how good we are at endurance athleticism, and that’s led to a perverse idea that humans really aren’t very good athletes.”
  • argument is, that we have evolved to be endurance “athletes”.  Hunter-gatherers and subsistence farmers performed huge volumes of work

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