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

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Seeing is believing. I would have to see pre-historic men blowing past our modern day olympic athletes before I believed it. Anyone can speculate. I personally think that pre-historic man would not stand a chance!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"Well, they all died at half (or less) the current life-expectancy, too. I’d hazard to guess that that sort of thing wears down the body at much higher rates."

yeah, but they didn't die because of the physical intensity. Sure, it didn't help, but the average life expectancy was due to famine, war, crime, and disease. Teenagers who grew up and worked on farms and factories during the 20s and 30s did some real hard labor and their generation is living beyond 80.

I do think though a lot of people have to put down the cell phone and go out and do some work because it's really annoying when you see people tired at the end of the day from a desk job, sitting with his brief case on his lap, falling asleep on the subway, and the construction worker is standing with his bag of tools, and lunch box.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Email This Post to a Friend
"Anthropologist Argues that Modern Humans Are Wimps"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window