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Anthropologist Argues that Modern Humans Are Wimps

In his new book Manthropology, Peter McAllister argues that human physical strength and endurance have deteriorated over time. John Mehaffey writes for Reuters:

Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 meters record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.

Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.

Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.

McAllister blames technology that, for all the good it has done, has reduced the physical demands of human existence. Even our comparatively recent ancestors could best us:

* Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.

* Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.

* Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 meters or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48).

Link via Jules Crittenden | Image: American Museum of Natural History


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