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View Full Version : running shaped evolution?


Yael Grauer
01-04-2007, 10:06 PM
http://www.utah.edu/unews/releases/04/nov/runevolve.html

Mike ODonnell
01-05-2007, 04:40 AM
Weak statements. "An Ape has no butt"? "A bigger heel bone"?

So none of those contribute to gate/waking and only running? Half my muscle is in my butt from 30+ years of ice hockey...so was hockey a natural evolution (well maybe in Canada)

I love when people use the word "running"....I think of 100meters, 400meters, somewhere under a mile and at a very fast pace. Everyone else think jogging slower than I can walk for 12 miles. 2 different exercises if you ask me.

Running is great and has benefits of increased muscle and endurance ability, jogging is not my thing. I'll run 3-5miles if only it is on a trail and I am usually going fast and slowing down and speeding up again....I'm never going at one pace anyways.

Running is a sport for the body. Jogging is a sport for Nike and everyone else that makes money off fancy shoes, clothing and Marathons (40,000 x the entrance fee??, can you say $$$$). Jogging will always be promoted, because it's an industry.

Steve Shafley
01-05-2007, 05:26 AM
Let's not even mention the complete inappropriateness of running for many (most? all?) as prescribed by modern media as their main source of exercise.

Dave Van Skike
01-05-2007, 10:51 AM
Weak statements. "An Ape has no butt"? "A bigger heel bone"?

So none of those contribute to gate/waking and only running? Half my muscle is in my butt from 30+ years of ice hockey...so was hockey a natural evolution (well maybe in Canada)

I love when people use the word "running"....I think of 100meters, 400meters, somewhere under a mile and at a very fast pace. Everyone else think jogging slower than I can walk for 12 miles. 2 different exercises if you ask me.

Running is great and has benefits of increased muscle and endurance ability, jogging is not my thing. I'll run 3-5miles if only it is on a trail and I am usually going fast and slowing down and speeding up again....I'm never going at one pace anyways.

Running is a sport for the body. Jogging is a sport for Nike and everyone else that makes money off fancy shoes, clothing and Marathons (40,000 x the entrance fee??, can you say $$$$). Jogging will always be promoted, because it's an industry.

If you accept the "out of Africa" evolutionary model, then think the context in which these bipeds evoelved. They are small, very slow scavenger/predators. The theory goes that their main evolutionary advantage over the competition is that they can be out operating in the noon day heat (while most other predators and prey are asleep). By being able to sweat effectively and cool the body, these small predators can literlaly jog their prey to death. "persistence hunting". And yes, we are talking about jogging at varying rates of speed, not sprinting a 400 or a 1000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting


This theory has been around a while and as an operational model there are many popoutions that have praticed or continue to practice this method of hunting.

From a pure logic standpoint, think of a slow hairless hominid in his savanna context. Other than the big brain, what has he got? Comparatively, his sprint is pathetic, his strength is worse. So lookign to his advantages, swqeating and endurance or the big ones.

I'm not saying it's the end all theory but it beats the hell out of the idea that humans are naturally adapted to sprinting and short very quick bursts of strenght ala the current mythology of armchair anthropologists. And anyone who thinks hunting is a "strength" or sprint sport is doing it wrong.

Mike ODonnell
01-05-2007, 12:18 PM
We could argue all day about "What is running?"

Is it 400meters? 1 mile? 3miles? 5 miles? 24.6 miles?

I would say our bodies are greatly designed for all aspects, sprinting and running distances whatever it may be. My beef is how most people (thanks to the media) assume running is a marathon. There are probably some good marathon runners who cross train and sprint/run much shorter distances. To me I would say there are few and far between. (and probably the only healthy long distance runners out there with muscle and lean body fat %)

Of course there is the exception to every rule, but I just think we have gone to far with glorifying jogging.

Steve Liberati
01-05-2007, 12:39 PM
I love when people use the word "running"....I think of 100meters, 400meters, somewhere under a mile and at a very fast pace. Everyone else think jogging slower than I can walk for 12 miles. 2 different exercises if you ask me.

Running is great and has benefits of increased muscle and endurance ability, jogging is not my thing. I'll run 3-5miles if only it is on a trail and I am usually going fast and slowing down and speeding up again....I'm never going at one pace anyways.

Running is a sport for the body. Jogging is a sport for Nike and everyone else that makes money off fancy shoes, clothing and Marathons (40,000 x the entrance fee??, can you say $$$$). Jogging will always be promoted, because it's an industry.

So true Mike. On target as usual.

Personally I have a hard time imagining hominids or aboriginal hunters "jogging" around for hours at a time on an empty tank hunting down their prey or searching the land for food. Doesn't make much sense. I'm sure they used their energy output more wisely.

Let's not underestimate their skills either (stupid but funny Geico commercial comes to mind..."so smart a caveman can do it"). Sure they were nowhere near as smart as humans are today (especially the highly intellectual guys like Neal W., Robb, Mike and many others here) but they were highly highly skilled for their environment. This enabled man to only survive but successfully evolve and adapt to an ever changing climate!

As Daniel Quinn wrote, "If you were to follow an aboriginal hunter through the forest, he'd see things that were literally invisible to you, He'd see and recognize marks in the dirt that you'd have to concentrate to see at all. He'd notice disturbances in the grass that would be imperceptible to you."

So I think a good point can be made that aboriginals and prehistoric man knew exactly what they were doing (very resourceful) when it came to surviving in the wild and hunting down their dinner.....and the mere thought of running (sorry jogging) around for any long length of a time seems out of whack. A good analogy is having street smarts. There are plenty of hustlers out there on the street who can't even spell their own name or count up to ten, but gets by with pure common sense and knowing the streets.

Same thing for aboriginals and most animals. They're "savanna smarts" enable them to run (sprint) down their prey only when the time is right. There's no hunting manual either. Rather something they developed and learned over millions of years.

They were very skilled. Not smart, but skilled.

Dave Van Skike
01-05-2007, 01:51 PM
"They were very skilled. Not smart, but skilled"

We could all have quite a time defining our terms here. What is smart? What is fit? what is jogging?

That would be a time suck of epic proportions. That said. All animals that successfully hunt are "smart" or at least "fit" for the task at hand in that they do it over and over again for millions of years.

"They're "savanna smarts" enable them to run (sprint) down their prey only when the time is right. "

My point is this, it is folly to assume that any where along the continuum of fuzzy little bipeds to modern human, our ancestors ran down prey with speed or won a battles of strength in some epic quest for food. Didn't happen. Ever hunted? Ever tried to chase down something slow like a goat?

"So I think a good point can be made that aboriginals and prehistoric man knew exactly what they were doing (very resourceful) when it came to surviving in the wild and hunting down their dinner.....and the mere thought of running (sorry jogging) around for any long length of a time seems out of whack."

If the skill you have is being able to slowly grind your prey down by startling, chasing and then startling then chasing again, why not use that tool? What could be a better use of time? No one postulated that this is time consuming or difficult. In an evolutionary sense, if it is difficult or high risk, it gets weeded out pretty quick.

"Personally I have a hard time imagining hominids or aboriginal hunters "jogging" around for hours at a time on an empty tank hunting down their prey or searching the land for food. Doesn't make much sense. I'm sure they used their energy output more wisely."

There are people that still hunt that way in a bunch of climates, not just equatorial areas. The concept that this takes a lot of time or they spend all day doing it is a fallacy. Hunter gather societies spend very little actual time hunting or gathering. I seem to remember from an anthro program that modern bushman spend like 10 hours a week devoted to getting food. They nap and screw off the rest of the time.

Back on point.....

I don't think it's at dispute that humans are very well adapted for pretty long steady distance movement (call it running, walking, jogging, skipping migrating) at least compared to all other primates, all other animals on the savanna etc. What this means is still not clear.

Persistance hunting is one idea. Significant patterns of adaptation can't be dismissed though. Whether we like the "idea" of "man the distance runner" is not really important.

Mike ODonnell
01-06-2007, 06:37 AM
I just got this from Chek and thought it was relevant and interesting:

"Our next logical question should be, did our ancestors regularly participate in cardiovascular exercise? Not likely. First of all, it would not be energy efficient to run around gathering berries, firewood and nuts in your target zone. Nor would it have been wise to run through the bush trying to get a workout while hunting, since any animal would hear you coming from hundreds of yards away and be long gone by the time you got there. If there was a cardiovascular stressor in our native environment, it was most likely when we had to send a messenger to a neighboring village or during times of battle, when you were either running or fighting for your life."

"Quite simply, there’s not much money in the manufacture and sales of dumbbells, weight plates and Olympic bars, but there are huge amounts of money to be made if you can convince the masses that aerobic exercise is necessary for disease prevention. After all, have you priced a treadmill, step mill, spin bike, rowing machine, elliptical machine or any such equipment lately? They cost anywhere from several hundred, to several thousand dollars per unit! They often have hundreds of moving parts, which wear out, break and need to be replaced. How many Olympic bars or dumbbells have you replaced lately? It is not at all unusual for a gym or rehab clinic to spend $75,000-$100,000 on cardio equipment alone, and, they will need to be replaced every few years; the same facilities often don’t spend more than $15,000-$20,000 on free weight training equipment and it can last the life of the gym. Yes, I know they spend large sums of money on fixed axis resistance training machines, but that is but another sign of industry influence and professional passivity!

When you get several large equipment manufacturers with multi-million dollar investments in the production of aerobic exercise equipment, you can rest assured there will be a comparatively large commitment to creating an aerobic exercise consciousness. The proof is all around you, in your exercise and bodybuilding magazines, trade journals, on TV infomercials, in your training manuals from most educational institutions. Who do you think sponsors the educational institutions and pays for the supportive research? "

The whole article is at http://www.chekinstitute.com/articles.cfm?select=71

Steve Liberati
01-06-2007, 07:09 AM
The headquarters of Leisure Fitness, a HUGE seller of fitness equipment (treadmills, stairmasters, etc) is located around the block walking distance to my house. Whenever I pass by their HUGE warehouse or see one of their many trucks on the road, it just completely baffles me how BIG they are and how big the "cardio" market they serve. Its just amazing how many ppl out there believe cardio (i.e doing the ellipitcal for 45 mins), is the answer to their weight and health problems. Sadly, the mindset is you can eat like shit and party like a rock star....but get your 45 mins of cardio in and you're good.

.....only if it was that easy.

Mike ODonnell
01-06-2007, 10:21 AM
"Abs are made in the Kitchen"....I like telling people that. It sticks with them.

Between the masses of Cardio and Ab machines.....we should be the most fit country on the face of the planet!

Dave Van Skike
01-06-2007, 03:32 PM
I just got this from Chek and thought it was relevant and interesting:

"Our next logical question should be, did our ancestors regularly participate in cardiovascular exercise? Not likely.

Chek's credential as an evolutionary expert aside.......:( The question is running.. not "cardio" per se.

Masai runners, Tarahumara, Nepalese mountain people I would wager don't get there HR above 115 on a good day. The idea of early man running about to an fro with his HR pegged at 150 is not what these guys are saying.

Billy_Brummel
01-07-2007, 10:18 AM
Let's not even mention the complete inappropriateness of running for many (most? all?) as prescribed by modern media as their main source of exercise.

Steve,

would you mind elaborating on this a little or just throwing some sources my way?

Thanks

Yael Grauer
01-07-2007, 10:46 AM
I wasn't posting this to advocate for long-distance running. I happen to hate long-distance running. I just thought it was interesting that it may have shaped evolution, however.

Saying that your body is evolutionarily designed for sprinting because you like it better is a weak argument.

To go along with Dave's post, I have a video called The Great Dance: A Hunter's Story, which is about the Kalahari Bushmen. They would hunt their animals by running them to the death. Apparently an Olympic distance runner was hired to do camera but could not keep up with them the first night they went out... the second night he could. We're talking around four hours
(or really anywhere from 2-5) of running until the prey runs out of stamina, 75 to 100 miles. Not exactly long slow distance, but I wouldn't call it a short 400m sprint, either. I suppose one could argue that the Bushmen are the exception to the rule re: hunting today, but it is thought to be one of the oldest forms of hunting.

I don't think anyone would disagree that it's easier to run for a long time if you are on your feet as opposed to all fours.

Mike ODonnell
01-07-2007, 10:48 AM
I''ll say:
- all the advertisements for marathons
- all the Nike commercials

The ratio of "running" commercials as a way of health and fitness vs other types of workouts is pretty lopsided. I don't see alot of strength training commercials (besides Boflex).

Of course all these are industries....so of course each advertises to increase their profits.

In defense....the running magazines are starting to have more information on the importance of shorter intervals and strength training. So at least there are some good references, but I still believe that is still only a small percentage of people who take that advice.

Case in point...in the gym the other day....overhead conversation...
Lady of treadmill: "So what you have been doing lately"
Guy on Bike:"I run 5-6 times a week, but need to get to use the bike more otherwise my knees are killing me"
Guy on Bike uses bike and then does some arm curls and goes home. I've tried in the past saying the importance of some strength training....but he never took it too heart as he still believes running is the answer 100%.

Much like hockey players and figure skaters dont hang out together...probably will be the same for joggers and sprinters.

Steve Shafley
01-07-2007, 01:26 PM
Billy:

I should have probably said "jogging" instead of running.

Since It's been the first week in January, and it's been unseaonally warm out, I've seen all the January joggers out in force, plodding away on the concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads.

So, you're overweight, and sedentary, and you think you should start exercises. Because of the asinine aerobics lobby in the country, which basically set sports science back 20 years, you think the best thing you could do is to start jogging.

It's stupid, ineffectual exercise, and most of the January joggers will wind up with sore feet, shin splints, battered knees, and painful hips and stop doing it as soon as the weather turns.

Billy_Brummel
01-07-2007, 03:09 PM
Steve:

I'm with you all the way on that.

I couldn't think of a worse - or more boring- way to start exercising than jogging for long distances-esp. for obese individuals.

Coach Sommer
01-07-2007, 07:15 PM
Forgive me, but it seems as though a key element of the hunting method being pursued by the bushman is being overlooked. Yes, they are indeed running at varying intervals for varying durations over uneven terrain, usually in the heat of the day. However they are also consistently engaged in strenuous strength work immediately following the run.

After a successful kill, of necessity, they transport their kill on their own backs. Imagine deadlifting, power cleaning, shouldering and then walking all of that distance back home with enough meat to feed a family or small village for several days. And then performing this activity on a regular basis for your entire adult life as a male.

Also, I would imagine that this type of activity is perhaps a semi-weekly event, depending on the size of the previous kill and the size of village being fed. An adult male Giraffe weighs in at approximately 4,000lbs.


Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer

OlympicBodies@aol.com

http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/229/
http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=512003

Chris Forbis
01-07-2007, 07:22 PM
Good post, Coach Sommer.

Glad to see you on the boards here.

Robb Wolf
01-08-2007, 05:08 PM
Great discussion. I was looking for chapter 10 of the Paleo Diet for Athletes by Prof. Cordain...we decided to run chapter 9 to preview the book when it was released. The crux of chapter 10 is that well studied HG's had/have very impressive sprint AND distance running abilities. I think the chapter talks about an anthropologist who was a "good" 100m sprinter who was beat in a series of short sprints by most of the male members of a tribe...I think it was the Ache of Peru. This same researcher was crushed by the Ache's ability to wake and begin a very brisk trot through the underbrush in pursuit of various types of small game.

Some studies of HG muscles shows a large tri-acyl (fat) storage. I think most of the activity would be sub "lactate threshold" (whatever that really means...I guess just a high glycogen intensive activity level?) but obviously some dips into high power occurs. I don't think most ancestral eating patterns, or even modern HG diets would allow for a huge amount of GLYCOLYTIC work. Just not enough carbs to support that other than a few times per week. That may fit with how often it was necessary to seek food. I think it's important to note that the tongue and liver, which are very rich in glycogen themselves, are almost universally eaten on the spot after a kill. Can you say post work out protein carb?

Even though it does not fit with my inclinations as a sprinter I think the optimum foraging theory and persistence hunting theories, particularly when viewed through the lens of our very efficient cooling systems, points towards a good amount of scampering.

Now all that said, and as Coach Sommer points out, the skeletal remains of HG's were NOT those of a marathoner! All of the long bones are robust and supported what was obviously a strong and capable physique. I think the modern decathlete (crossfitter?) would likely model this pretty accurately.

I think it is also important to note that cranial size has done nothing but DECREASE since our species has emerged and shifted to agriculture. I suspect our ancestors were smarter and had better memories than we do.

Steve Liberati
01-08-2007, 05:54 PM
^^^^^^^^^^
Great post Robb.
Thanks for making sense of it all.

Mike ODonnell
01-08-2007, 06:24 PM
I think it's important to note that the tongue and liver, which are very rich in glycogen themselves, are almost universally eaten on the spot after a kill. Can you say post work out protein carb?

Wow...that is great info....of course I was already sold on the effectiveness and timing of post workout carbs and protein, but great to know. Somehow I don't think I will be taking any tongue or liver to the gym for PWO.

Ranks up there with Take your fish oil because "Cavemen used to bash in heads and eat the brains...brains are high in DHA and probably shows how cavemen evolved quickly".

Yael Grauer
01-08-2007, 06:29 PM
Ranks up there with Take your fish oil because "Cavemen used to bash in heads and eat the brains...brains are high in DHA and probably shows how cavemen evolved quickly".

For more fun explanations, just ask Robb about cultured food sometime. :eek:

Robb Wolf
01-08-2007, 06:32 PM
For more fun explanations, just ask Robb about cultured food sometime. :eek:


LOL!!! I'll leave the "pleasure" to you my dear! Ha!

Yael Grauer
01-08-2007, 06:36 PM
LOL!!! I'll leave the "pleasure" to you my dear! Ha!

It will upset my delicate sensitivities!!

Yael Grauer
01-09-2007, 12:49 PM
P.S. Not sure about the other tribes, but the Kalahari Bushmen used hoodia as an appetite suppresant.

http://www.blackherbals.com/hoodia_cactus.htm

http://www.raysahelian.com/hoodia.html

Craig Cooper
01-13-2007, 05:52 PM
I think this article is really missing the boat on the whole "what defines us as humans" thing, because nowhere did I see any mention of opposable thumbs! I would think that whatever selective pressure blessed us with the ability to use tools has had a far greater influence on our hunting practices than the fact that we have bigger asses than apes! Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't opposable thumbs come before any of these other changes besides walking upright?

Dave Van Skike
01-14-2007, 10:39 AM
I think this article is really missing the boat on the whole "what defines us as humans" thing, because nowhere did I see any mention of opposable thumbs! I would think that whatever selective pressure blessed us with the ability to use tools has had a far greater influence on our hunting practices than the fact that we have bigger asses than apes! Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't opposable thumbs come before any of these other changes besides walking upright?

Actually, no.

Opposable thumbs seem to show up in the fossil record at approximately the same time as the "running" adaptations Bramble and Lieberman are describing in the article. Not necessarily before. Also opposable thumbs are not necessarily the sole province of the genus homo. So, thumb="human" is a tough call. The big brain, complex speech, light bodied (weak) and fine motor control are all part of the collection of "human" goodies.

Robb Wolf
01-16-2007, 11:46 AM
the hows and why's of evolution are fascination to me. To be sure a few things happened in fairly close time proximity:
1-decrease in gut size
2-increase in brain size
3-increased stature and alteration of the pelvis
4-opposable thumb

Human skeletal anatomy has not changed much from the neck down since H. Erectus...nearly 2 million years! It is efficient and works very well as is evidenced by the conservation of many structural traits. it's tough to tell about the software of the brain but it does appear H. Sapiens experienced a serious leap in cultural transmission. H. neanderthalensis was smart enough to pick up on much of this, but never independantly developed it.

This in my mind is the "fractal" landscape Devany describes...information and evolution occurring on the genetic level which creates changes that creates memes...purely "thought" or cultural changes...which feedback and alter genes. Interesting stuff.

Dave Van Skike
01-16-2007, 01:45 PM
.[/QUOTE] H. neanderthalensis was smart enough to pick up on much of this, but never independantly developed it. [/QUOTE]


Huh? I thought the jury was still out on this.

Steve Shafley
01-16-2007, 01:50 PM
Neanderthal obviously couldn't compete.

I think they were more strict carnivores than H. Sapiens and while physically superior, were less adaptable.

Dave Van Skike
01-16-2007, 04:35 PM
Neanderthal obviously couldn't compete.

I think they were more strict carnivores than H. Sapiens and while physically superior, were less adaptable.


Says you.


I see Neanderthals....wherever I look.