Thank ancient humans for that fastball - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Thank ancient humans for that fastball

Updated: June 26, 2013 03:02 PM
© iStockphoto.com / Michal Besser © iStockphoto.com / Michal Besser
  • HealthMore>>

  • Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Spouse's sunny outlook may be good for your health

    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.
    Marriage vows often include the promise to stick together for better or for worse, and research now suggests that when it comes to your health, having an optimistic spouse is better.
  • Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    Mental illness not a driving force behind crime

    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...
    TUESDAY, April 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Less than 10 percent of crimes committed by mentally ill people are directly linked to the symptoms of their disorders, a new study shows. "When we hear about crimes committed by people with mental illness, they tend to be big headline-making crimes, so they get stuck in people's heads," said study author Jillian Peterson, a psychology professor at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. "The vast majority of people with mental illness a...
  • A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    A little wine might help kidneys stay healthy

    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.
    An occasional glass of wine might help keep your kidneys healthy, new research suggests.

WEDNESDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Humans may not run faster than a cheetah or swim better than a shark, but they out-throw other species, experts say. And the reasons for that may lie far back in evolution.

People's ability to throw balls and other objects fast and accurately is a trait that developed nearly 2 million years ago to help our now-extinct ancestors hunt with rocks and sharpened wooden spears, new research suggests.

"We think that throwing was probably most important early on in terms of hunting behavior, enabling our ancestors to effectively and safely kill big game," study lead author Neil Roach, of George Washington University, said in a university news release. "Eating more calorie-rich meat and fat would have allowed our ancestors to grow larger brains and bodies and expand into new regions of the world -- all of which helped make us who we are today."

Superior throwing skills are unique to humans, the researchers noted, and even our chimpanzee cousins can't come close to matching us.

"Chimpanzees are incredibly strong and athletic, yet adult male chimps can only throw about 20 miles per hour -- one-third the speed of a 12-year-old little league pitcher," Roach said.

He and his colleagues used a 3-D camera system to record the throwing motions of collegiate baseball players. They found that the shoulder acts much like a slingshot during a throw, storing and releasing large amounts of energy.

"When humans throw, we first rotate our arms backwards away from the target. It is during this 'arm-cocking' phase that humans stretch the tendons and ligaments crossing their shoulder and store elastic energy," Roach explained. "When this energy is released, it accelerates the arm forward, generating the fastest motion the human body produces, resulting in a very fast throw."

The researchers also found that certain structural features in the torso, shoulder and arm make this energy storage possible.

The findings, to be published July 27 in the journalNature, may have important implications for athletes. For example, baseball pitchers throw much more often than our ancient ancestors did.

"At the end of the day, despite the fact that we evolved to throw, when we overuse this ability it can end up injuring us," said Roach, a postdoctoral scientist in the university's Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons discusses throwing-related elbow injuries in children.

Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
General information or questions:
kxinfo@kxnet.com

News:
Bismarck:
Phone: 701-223-9197
News Fax: 701-223-1985

News:
Minot:
Phone: 701-852-2104
News Fax: 701-838-1050
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KXNET. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.