Homo Sapiens Got Back

“Have you ever looked at an ape?” Dr. Bramble said. “They have no buns.”

What’s sets humans apart from other primates? We’ve got buns and we can run.

If walking upright first set early human ancestors apart from their ape cousins, it may have been their eventual ability to run long distances with a springing step over the African savanna that influenced the transition to today’s human body form, two researchers are reporting today.

The evolution of physiques for distance running made humans look the way we do now, whether winning a marathon, nursing a strained Achilles tendon or sitting on an ample gluteus maximus in front of the TV.

Endurance running, unique to humans among primates and uncommon in all mammals other than dogs, horses and hyenas, apparently evolved at least two million years ago and probably let human ancestors hunt and scavenge over great distances. That was probably decisive in the pursuit of high-protein food for development of large brains.

Hat Tip: Ann Althouse