Saturday, April 11, 2009

Human Evolution and Running

Here is an interesting article on human evolution and distance running. THe argument is essentially that humans evolved to be distance-runner hunters. Toward the end, objections are raised by University of Wisconsin paleoanthropologist John Hawks, who "questions how a trait that is supposedly specific to endurance running could persist today, when tools and farming have long since replaced the old selective pressures of hunting. “If these features really were distinctive to long-distance running, shouldn’t they have disappeared?”" Such a statement shows a true ignorance of evolution. So long as traits aren't maladaptive, they don't disappear. Species don't "revert back" to what they were. And so long as there were wars, long-distance running could still be quite adaptive. Equally ridiculous: "Hawks says of the finding that toe-length variation does not affect walking. “If we see that toe length makes a big difference for running, that’s relatively good evidence that toe length wasn’t selected for.”" This statement doesn't even make any sense. If short-toed people could run farther and get more food, of course they would be selected for. Here we have evidence that even scientists can believe some pretty stupid things about evolution.
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