Man used to be a gatherer who had yet to learn how to fashion weapons that could kill things from a distance. He evolved a sense of balance and an ability to run to dead meat before anything else, which allowed him to get food before other animals.

As he got better at this, he discovered that he could chase down other animals and keep them moving until they overheated and could be easily overcome. As Summer comes on, we can relish in the fact that we are the only creatures in the animal kingdom that run long distances for fun. Or that will choose to run long distances, at least…

While some of our ancestors’ meat-eating may have been due to scavenging, Lieberman said the appearance about 2 million years ago of physical adaptations that have no impact on walking but that make humans better endurance runners provide evidence that early scavengers became running hunters.
Humans, he said, have several adaptations that help us dump the enormous amounts of heat generated by running. These adaptations include our hairlessness, our ability to sweat, and the fact that we breathe through our mouths when we run, which not only allows us to take bigger breaths, but also helps dump heat.

“We can run in conditions that no other animal can run in,” Lieberman said.

(Full Article: Humans hot, sweaty, natural-born runners)

It is nice to know that it is our ability to not be too hairy, and not our ability to make tools, that raised us up to lord over the rest of the animal kingdom. It is a fascinating article that talks about the different traits that man evolved over thousands of years that allow us to do something as frivolous as running 26 miles down a road.

(Original Source: Run Mystic)