BC 2,000,000c.1

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Overhand Throwing Evolves in Primates

Salience Noteworthy
City/State/Country: Cambridge, MA, United States
Immediacy of Report Retrospective
Age of Players Adult
Text

"A suite of physical changes -- such as the lowering and widening of the shoulders, and expansion of the waist, and a twisting of the humerus -- make humans especially good at throwing  . . . it wasn't until the appearance of Homo erectus, about 2 million years ago" that this combination of alterations came together.

Note: Chimpanzees can only throw like a dartboard-contestant or a straight-arm cricket bowler.

Stone-tipped spears only appeared about a half a million years ago.  "That means that for about 1.5 million years, when people hunted, they basically had nothing more lethal to throw than a pointed wooden stick . . . . If you want to kill something with that, you have to be able to throw that pretty hard, and you have to be accurate.  Imagine how important it must have been to our ancestors to throw hard and fast."

 

Sources

Peter Reuell, "Right Down the Middle, Explained," Harvard Gazette, June 27, 2013.

See http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/06/right-down-the-middle-explained/ (includes video of human throwing motion).  It describes a paper by Neil T. Roach, et. a., "Elastic Energy Storage in the Shoulder,   Nature, volume 498 (June 27, 2013), pp. 483-487.

Comment

The article asserts, without supporting detail, that straight-arm (cricket-style) throwing is less effective.

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Query

Do British researchers agree that cricket-style bowling would be less effective as a hunting technique?

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Submitted by Alexa McCray
Submission Note email sent to Protoball on Alexa's birthday



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