CARTA: The Evolution of Human Physical Activity - Daniel Lieberman - The Evolution of Walking and Running  

6/28/2021; 29 minutes

Human physical activities differ significantly from other species. How, when and why did these capabilities evolve? What adaptations underlie them? And how did the evolution of human physical activity affect other key human characteristics that have advanced our species? Daniel Lieberman explores how running evolved and its role in human evolution.

All animals need to be physically active, but the human lineage clearly underwent selection to be considerably more physically active than our relatively inactive ape ancestors and cousins including chimpanzees and gorillas. Bipedal walking brought many benefits but also rendered hominins slow and awkward, hence vulnerable to predation. With the origins of hunting and gathering in the genus Homo, there was additional selection for endurance running which helped hominins become scavengers and hunters. Today we face a growing epidemic of physical inactivity that increases people's vulnerability to a wide range of diseases.

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