From: The Chronicle [mailto:daily@...
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 5:00 AM
To: Chronicle Daily Report
Subject: 11/22/2004 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education
ACADEME TODAY: The Chronicle of Higher Education's
Daily Report for subscribers
Here are news bulletins from The Chronicle of Higher Education
for Monday, November 22.
MAGAZINES & JOURNALS
A glance at the November 18 issue of "Nature":
The role of running in human evolution
The human ability to run long distances may be more than a side
effect of adaptations for walking, two scholars say. It may have
been a major factor in shaping how the species evolved.
Human beings are the only primates capable of long-distance
running, write Dennis M. Bramble, a professor of biology at the
University of Utah, and Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor of
biological anthropology at Harvard University. And the human
body is well adapted for running, they add, with special
structures for storing energy and stabilizing the body that are
useful in running but not in walking.
While people are not as good at sprinting as most four-legged
animals, the authors say, a well-conditioned person can perform
as well as many quadrupeds in endurance running and can
occasionally even outrun horses over extremely long distances.
Natural selection may have favored traits related to
long-distance running because it made our ancestors better
hunters and scavengers, the authors suggest. If so, running "may
have made possible a diet rich in fats and proteins thought to
account for the unique human combination of large bodies, small
guts, big brains, and small teeth," they write.
Today long-distance running "is primarily a form of exercise and
recreation," they write, "but its roots may be as ancient as the
origin of the human genus, and its demands a major contributing
factor to the human body form."
The article is online for subscribers; information about the
magazine is available at http://www.nature.com/nature/
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