The Evolution of Homo
Many people believe that humans evolved from neanderthals, but it is known that the latter was not man’s predecessor, but rather a totally different sub-species that competed with the former for survival. It is safe to say that the closest living things that resemble a neanderthal would be gorillas and chimpanzees, big, burly, and strong. Humans are frailer, smaller, and weaker than both, and thus inferior to a neanderthal. The latter were amazingly skillful at weapon making and hunting, and were around much longer than the early humans (McDougall, 2009). Much like a jackrabbit to a cougar, Homo sapiens must have had something that neanderthals didn’t, the big question is, “What was it?”
Dr. Bramble had studied the skull of early hominids and found something astonishing. The back of the skull of our predecessor Australopithecus afarensis was smooth, while the back of the skull Homo erectus had a notch in the back of it (McDougall 2009). Surely something had to fit in that notch, and something did. It was something that can only be found in animals that run, such as horses and dogs, not in pigs and chimps. What lies on the back of the skull of such running animals is a stabilizer ligament, the nuchal ligament, that is only useful in stabilizing the head when the animal is moving fast, much faster than a trot let alone a walk. This is only just one piece of evidence out of many that the genus Homo must’ve been made for moving fast.
Dr. Bramble teamed up with Harvard professor Dr. Daniel Lieberman to further explore the differences between the anatomy of H. erectus and A. afarensis by studying the difference between humans and chimps respectively. Bramble and Lieberman found that there are a number of ligame...
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...shin splints (painful shins due to great force). All of these injuries can obviously be seen to be caused by the use of conventional running shoes. According to Dr. Paul Brand, “we could wipe out every common foot ailment within a generation by kicking off our shoes (2009)”.
McDougall also writes of a young Alan Webb, America’s best miler. Webb was very injury prone in terms of lower legs and feet. Essentially his coach had him run barefoot after practice to strengthen the muscles in the foot. Soon, the arch of his foot got stronger and higher, and he was injury free. He later went to become one of the fastest indoor high school milers, and run an American record in the mile.
Nowadays, many running shoes manufactures have spent billions of dollars in coming up with shoes that mimic running barefoot, and more people are turning towards this barefoot running trend.
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