Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Natural Selection?

Over at Nautilus, Jeremy Miller writes about the idea that human beings went from mostly quadrupedal to full-out bipeds in order to be able to throw better.

Early hominids, anthropologists believe, were semi-bipeds like the modern great apes. They could walk on two legs, but most often used their legs and long arms together, especially when they wanted speed. That's a fine arrangement, but it's not the best way to be able to throw something. Throwing from a more or less horizontal position robs the toss of most of its power and accuracy. Underhand tosses are more likely to hit a target, but without a lot of mustard on them. Overhand throws have more power, but unless you're upright they're most likely to hit the ground a few feet in front of you. Neither is very useful when your target is a tasty critter or marauding member of another tribe.

So the hominids that were better able to stand vertically on two legs tended to thrive a little bit better, and the ones that kept their four-point stance tended to not do so. Ol' great-to-the-nth-power grandpa found that a bipedal approach increased the velocity and accuracy of his throw, and also left him in a better position to either start chasing down his wounded dinner or turning and running from his enemy.

In other words, baseball represents evolved human beings. Football represents an evolutionary dead end. But don't take my word for it; here's the original Chuck D to settle the matter, as related in Miller's story:
“...hands and arms could hardly have become perfect enough to have manufactured weapons, or to have hurled stones and spears with a true aim, as long as they were habitually used for locomotion and for supporting the whole weight of the body, or…for climbing trees. From these causes alone it would have been an advantage to man to have become a biped.”
Don't blame me if you don't like it; it's just plain science.

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