Homo sapiens: not as wimpy you thought ∞
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“Humans can actually compete with & often beat horses at endurance races.” Especially when it’s hot. Which is cool. Here’s the context of that quote, from Daniel Lieberman, on not giving homo sapiens enough athletic credit, from the article Brains Plus Brawn:
We’re actually remarkable endurance athletes, and that endurance athleticism is deeply woven into our bodies, literally from our heads to our toes.
We’ve lost sight at just how good we are at endurance athleticism, and that’s led to a perverse idea that humans really aren’t very good athletes. A good example is that every year they have races where they actually compare humans and horses. In Wales, this started a few years ago, I guess it started out as a typical sort of drunken pub bet, where some guy bet that a human couldn’t beat a horse in a marathon. They’ve been running a marathon in Wales for the last, I think 15-20 years. To be fair, most years, the horses beat the humans, but the humans often come very close. Whenever it’s hot, the humans actually beat the horses.
The point is not that humans are poor athletes, because the horses occasionally beat us, but humans can actually compete with and often beat horses at endurance races. Most people are surprised at that.
One of the interesting things about these races also is that they’re so worried about the horses getting injured, that the horses have mandatory veterinary check-ups every 20 kilometres, but not the humans, because humans can easily run 40 kilometres without injury. But if you make a horse gallop for more than 20 kilometres, you seriously risk doing long-term permanent musculoskeletal damage to the horse.