Fascinating article about human endurance in long-distance running and “persistence hunting”.
The graph of human versus sprint speeds, dramatic as it is, might be made more dramatic still by depicting the *average* human’s running speed rather than Usain Bolt’s. For the average human’s 100m speed would probably be more like 15-20 km/h and the 400m speed well below this. We average humans might beat chickens but not squirrels, hippos or even certain lizards. How embarrassing.
Thanks for the scientific explanations behind humans’ poor sprinting and superlative persistence hunting—oxygen processing, fast-twitch fibres and sweating. Persistence hunting is linked to human evolution, as you pointed out, because a regular supply of meat enabled the growth of the brain and of intelligence. I think there may be an additional thread of argument that could strengthen the whole: you mentioned a *regular* supply of meat. Persistence hunting ensures a regular supply of meat. Whereas sprint hunting such as that of cheetahs would not ensure a regular supply because, I have heard, the success rate of most fast predators is only ten percent of all sallies. I would guess, then, that the fast predators have to be able to survive long periods without high-caloric food, which would have been inimical to growth of the brain.
Peter_G_Moll - 2022 08 20