Sunday Tribune

Modern men have evolved into wimps

- MICHAEL HANLON

EVIDENCE has been put forward that our male ancestors were not only faster, stronger and fitter, but even their womenfolk would have wiped the floor with today’s emasculate­d men.

That’s the central claim of Manthropol­ogy, a new book by Australian anthropolo­gist Peter McAllister.

In the book, subtitled The Science Of The Inadequate Modern Male, McAllister presents evidence that pre-historic Australian Aborigines could easily have outsprinte­d even Usain Bolt, today’s fastest man on Earth.

The basis of his findings? A set of 20 000-yearold preserved human footprints discovered in the Outback. They belonged to a party of six men, most probably chasing prey across a bed of soft mud.

By carefully measuring the dimensions of the prints, scientists have calculated that the fastest of the group must have clocked a speed of 37km/h.

That is just a little less than the speed that Usain Bolt achieved in his 100m sprint in Berlin this August.

McAllister reasons that if those ancient Aborigines were given the same advantages that Bolt had – with spiked shoes, a proper running track and an intensive training regime – there’s little doubt that they could have beaten today’s record-holder.

Nor were the Aborigines the only athletic superstars from history.

In Ancient Greece, the rowers who powered the gigantic trireme warships were apparently able to maintain speeds unattainab­le by Olympic-class rowers today.

And looking further back in time, many of the extinct hominid species such as the Neandertha­ls would have left us for dust athletical­ly.

So what on Earth has happened to turn the modern human race into such comparativ­e weaklings?

McAllister says the Industrial Revolution is to blame, with the advent of machines removing a large part of the physicalit­y of our lives and allowing us to become slothful and weak.

“We are simply not exposed to the same loads and challenges that people were in the past,” he says.

“Even the level of training that we do with our elite athletes doesn’t come close to replicatin­g that.”

The first anatomical­ly modern Europeans, the Cro-Magnon people, would have been an impressive race – standing often sixand-a-half-feet (1.98m) tall, heavily muscled and with larger brains than today’s humans. – Daily Mail

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