Running Revolution Started as Evolution
Millions of years before headphone-wearing joggers clotted the streets of America, the development of the ability to run played a crucial role in the evolution of early humans, according to new research.
Without running, our bodies might have turned out looking like those of apes, said Harvard University anthropology professor Daniel Lieberman, co-author of a new study in the Nov. 18 issue of Nature. "This ability of ours to run incredibly long distances rather efficiently is incredibly rare. It's unique," he said. "No other primates like to run, or are even good at it."
By developing bodies that allow for running, humans may have boosted their ability to both hunt and scavenge for food, Lieberman said...Lieberman and a colleague, biology professor Dennis Bramble of the University of Utah, became interested in the development of running several years ago when they watched a pig run on a treadmill. "He looked at that pig and said, 'That pig can't hold its head still,' and sure enough, the pig was wobbling its head around from side to side," Lieberman recalled. By contrast, "when you look at a human running, they're terrific. We're like pogo sticks. If you watch someone running, particularly someone who has a ponytail, that ponytail will be bobbing up and down, but the eyes of the runner will be stable like a missile. We wondered how on earth we do that."
The researchers found numerous physical traits that evolved in humans and appear to be critical to the ability to run: head designs that prevent overheating and allow humans to see the world as they run without too much jiggling; a ligament in the back that acts as a kind of shock absorber; shorter forearms that allow for better counterbalancing of the upper and lower bodies; and huge buttocks that provide stabilization (Dotinga, "Forbes Magazine," Nov. 18 - HealthDayNews).
[TBC: The researchers freely attribute the physiology of humans to "design." It takes incredible faith, anchored on nothing, to attribute "design" to an unfeeling, non-sentient, absolutely random process, which has never been demonstrated].