Humans' Big Edge Over Chimps: We Can Throw
When our ancestors figured it out 2 million years ago, it was huge
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2013 6:04 PM CDT
He can dance, but he can't throw.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A chimp would never be able to throw a fastball, or anything even close to a fastball, and that seemingly weird fact helps explain why humans came to rule the animal kingdom, says a new study in Nature. Researchers say that early humans—Homo erectus, to be exact—developed the ability to throw about 2 million years ago, thanks to a handful of anatomical changes, reports the Washington Post. Among other things, we got longer waists, lower shoulders, and the ability to cock an arm way behind our back for extra power. (The researchers studied the motions of college pitchers to zero in on key factors.)

These changes allowed humans to become great hunters, providing the ability to take down big game with a well-aimed spear. Hunting “really did have a tremendously profound effect on who we are," says the lead researcher. The study shows how the anatomical changes dovetailed with a fossil record that shows how hunting intensified about the same time, reports the Boston Globe. ("I throw, therefore I am," is how Globe writer Carolyn Johnson sums things up.) Both stories also quote sports experts who say the findings could help them determine which pitchers are destined for greatness and which for the injured reserve.

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
crankydude
Jun 28, 2013 10:34 AM CDT
I hear a chimpanzee researcher has an interesting alternative theory. I happen to be human and I don't rule a darn thing. We chop down forests and forgive ourselves. Bugs destroy crops we rag on them. All other species were here first. We evicted all of them, without due process.
PadrePio
Jun 27, 2013 10:21 AM CDT
Yeah throwing and deodorant is what sets us apart from Chimps.
winterfairy
Jun 27, 2013 12:20 AM CDT
Chimps throw like a girl.