Location: Texas

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Running Extra Mile Sets Humans Apart in Primates' World

Endurance running, unique to humans among primates and uncommon in all mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas, apparently evolved at least two million years ago and probably let human ancestors hunt and scavenge over great distances. That was probably decisive in the pursuit of high-protein food for development of large brains.

The apparently crucial role of running in human evolution has been largely overlooked in previous research. But today, the two scientists, Dr. Dennis M. Bramble of the University of Utah and Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard, report in the journal Nature that their analysis of the fossil record found striking anatomical evidence for the capability of prolonged running in the Homo genus, beginning about two million years ago.

"Today, endurance running is primarily a form of exercise and recreation, but its roots may be as ancient as the origin of the human genus," the scientists conclude in the article.


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