Endurance running and the evolution of Homo.

Bibliographic Collection: 
MOCA Reference, APE
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Bramble, Dennis M; Lieberman, Daniel E
Year of Publication: 2004
Journal: Nature
Volume: 432
Issue: 7015
Pagination: 345-52
Date Published: 2004 Nov 18
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1476-4687
Keywords: Animals, Biological Evolution, Energy Metabolism, Fossils, History, Ancient, Hominidae, Humans, Models, Biological, Physical Endurance, Running, Skeleton, Time Factors, Walking

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.

DOI: 10.1038/nature03052
Alternate Journal: Nature
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