Some notes and speculations about various topics. ||| Gegenwärtig - vorübergehend -
wohl eher eine Gedankensammlung als ein Naturwissenschaftsblog. Das Konzept eines "Naturwissenschaftsblogs" wird erst im kommenden Jahr (2018/2019) Umsetzung finden.
Freitag, 29. Mai 2015
Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of highspeed throwing in Homo
Although some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally, only humans
regularly throw projectiles with high speed and great accuracy. Darwin noted that humans’ unique
throwing abilities, made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to
effectively hunt using projectiles. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of
throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence on
when, how, and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws. Here, we
show using experimental studies of throwers that human throwing capabilities largely result from
several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder.
These features first appear together approximately two million years ago in the species Homo
erectus. Given archaeological evidence that suggests hunting activity intensified around this time,
we conclude that selection for throwing in order to hunt likely played an important role in the
evolution of the human genus.