Re: Born To Run: What Humans Really Evolved To Do

The article suggests that the first running
hominid was Homo erectus. We still do not
know how its ancestors lived.

I believe that Australopithecus anamensis lived
in riparian, arboreal, and aquatic environments.
Most of its meat came from mollusks. His
lifestyle was described in this newsgroup by
Marc Verhaegen.

I believe that Australopithecus afarensis was
the first hominid devoid of fur (naked). Its
primary food source were roots and tubers dug
out with sticks. It lost its fur because digging
was hard work and because it had to cool itself
by sweating. Its environment was dry, but close
to water's edge. Mosquitoes forced it to sleep
away from the water.

The article says:
Functional morphologist Brigitte Demes, at the
State University of New York at Stony Brook,
notes that the gluteus maximus is absolutely
essential for rising from a squatting posture
at rest or during foraging, so it might not
have evolved just for running.

I agree. The gluteus maximus was very useful for
keeping upright when Australopithecus afarensis
leaned over a root or a tuber.

Marc Verhaegen wrote:
In a waterside scenario, wading and swimming
would be preadaptative to the humanlike
Œvertical¹ locomotion that Bramble and Lieberman
believe to be a direct adaptation to endurance

Lemurs do not have big buttocks, and yet they
leap upright better than we do. You do not use
your buttock muscles (gluteus maximus) when you
stand upright, but you use them when you stoop.

I still believe that Australopithecus africanus
was the first "fire ape."

The article says:
About 2.6 million years ago, our forebears
started eating meat and marrow, rich sources
of protein and fat that perhaps eventually
fueled the growth of larger brains.

The first stone tools also appeared 2.6 million
years ago. At that time Australopithecus afarensis
was extinct. The most common hominid was
Australopithecus africanus. From 2.9 million to
2.4 million years ago Africa was relatively dry,
but not as dry as it is today. I claimed that
africanus was a "fire ape" at that time and that
it ate lots of cooked meat. Now it seems that the
firestick lifestyle could not have been common
before 2.6 million years ago. Was the africanus
smart enough to start fires by making sparks with
flint stones? Could it become the fire ape without
this skill? Is it a coincidence that the first
cutting stone tools were also made of flint?

Maybe africanus was inept fire ape from 2.9
million to 2.6 million years ago. Its skills at
that time were the same as the skills of hawks
- it could start new fire only by carrying a
burning stick. It took him 300,000 years to
learn how to make sparks with the flint stones.

It is possible that africanus used stone tools
to break elephant bones and extract marrow from
the bones, but there were not enough elephants
to use the marrow as the primary food source.

The article says:
He and his younger brother, Scott, went to
the desert in Utah and Wyoming to chase
pronghorn antelope. The beasts ditched them
every time. The sleek, bouncy animals would
join up with others, and soon the men would
be huffing after a dozen of them. "You
wouldn't know which were the animals you
started with," Carrier says.

I used this argument against the savanna hypothesis.

The article says:
Although Liebenberg's observations support
the runner-as-hunter hypothesis, Bramble and
Lieberman think early Homo would more likely
have first run to scavenge prey killed by
other carnivores — a strategy the Hadza people
of East Africa are known to use...

I agree.