90
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    1
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: not found
      • Article: not found

      Endurance running and the evolution of Homo

      ,

      Nature

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

      Read this article at

      ScienceOpenPublisherPubMed
      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Striding bipedalism is a key derived behaviour of hominids that possibly originated soon after the divergence of the chimpanzee and human lineages. Although bipedal gaits include walking and running, running is generally considered to have played no major role in human evolution because humans, like apes, are poor sprinters compared to most quadrupeds. Here we assess how well humans perform at sustained long-distance running, and review the physiological and anatomical bases of endurance running capabilities in humans and other mammals. Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton. The fossil evidence of these features suggests that endurance running is a derived capability of the genus Homo, originating about 2 million years ago, and may have been instrumental in the evolution of the human body form.

          Related collections

          Most cited references43

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: not found
          • Article: not found

          The Expensive-Tissue Hypothesis: The Brain and the Digestive System in Human and Primate Evolution

            Bookmark
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            ACTN3 genotype is associated with human elite athletic performance.

            There is increasing evidence for strong genetic influences on athletic performance and for an evolutionary "trade-off" between performance traits for speed and endurance activities. We have recently demonstrated that the skeletal-muscle actin-binding protein alpha-actinin-3 is absent in 18% of healthy white individuals because of homozygosity for a common stop-codon polymorphism in the ACTN3 gene, R577X. alpha-Actinin-3 is specifically expressed in fast-twitch myofibers responsible for generating force at high velocity. The absence of a disease phenotype secondary to alpha-actinin-3 deficiency is likely due to compensation by the homologous protein, alpha-actinin-2. However, the high degree of evolutionary conservation of ACTN3 suggests function(s) independent of ACTN2. Here, we demonstrate highly significant associations between ACTN3 genotype and athletic performance. Both male and female elite sprint athletes have significantly higher frequencies of the 577R allele than do controls. This suggests that the presence of alpha-actinin-3 has a beneficial effect on the function of skeletal muscle in generating forceful contractions at high velocity, and provides an evolutionary advantage because of increased sprint performance. There is also a genotype effect in female sprint and endurance athletes, with higher than expected numbers of 577RX heterozygotes among sprint athletes and lower than expected numbers among endurance athletes. The lack of a similar effect in males suggests that the ACTN3 genotype affects athletic performance differently in males and females. The differential effects in sprint and endurance athletes suggests that the R577X polymorphism may have been maintained in the human population by balancing natural selection.
              Bookmark
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              The locomotor anatomy of Australopithecus afarensis.

              The postcranial skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis from the Hadar Formation, Ethiopia, and the footprints from the Laetoli Beds of northern Tanzania, are analyzed with the goal of determining (1) the extent to which this ancient hominid practiced forms of locomotion other than terrestrial bipedality, and (2) whether or not the terrestrial bipedalism of A. afarensis was notably different from that of modern humans. It is demonstrated that A. afarensis possessed anatomic characteristics that indicate a significant adaptation for movement in the trees. Other structural features point to a mode of terrestrial bipedality that involved less extension at the hip and knee than occurs in modern humans, and only limited transfer of weight onto the medial part of the ball of the foot, but such conclusions remain more tentative than that asserting substantive arboreality. A comparison of the specimens representing smaller individuals, presumably female, to those of larger individuals, presumably male, suggests sexual differences in locomotor behavior linked to marked size dimorphism. The males were probably less arboreal and engaged more frequently in terrestrial bipedalism. In our opinion, A. afarensis from Hadar is very close to what can be called a "missing link." We speculate that earlier representatives of the A. afarensis lineage will present not a combination of arboreal and bipedal traits, but rather the anatomy of a generalized ape.
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                November 2004
                November 2004
                : 432
                : 7015
                : 345-352
                Article
                10.1038/nature03052
                15549097
                a27c812b-0791-4d07-a9b1-f168e6861fcb
                © 2004

                Comments

                Comment on this article