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Human athletic paleobiology; using sport as a model to investigate human evolutionary adaptation

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journal contribution
posted on 06.02.2020, 15:43 by Daniel LongmanDaniel Longman, Jonathan CK Wells, Jay T Stock
The use of sport as a conceptual framework offers unprecedented opportunities to improve our understanding of what the body does, shedding new light on our evolutionary trajectory, our capacity for adaptation, and the underlying biological mechanisms. This approach has gained traction over recent years. To date, sport has facilitated exploration not only of the evolutionary history of our species as a whole, but also of human variation and adaptation at the interindividual and intraindividual levels. At the species level, analysis of lower and upper limb biomechanics and energetics with respect to walking, running and throwing have led to significant advances in the understanding of human adaptations relative to other hominins. From an interindividual perspective, investigation of physical activity patterns and endurance running performance is affording greater understanding of evolved constraints of energy expenditure, thermoregulatory energetics, signaling theory, and morphological variation. Furthermore, ultra-endurance challenges provoke functional trade-offs, allowing new ground to be broken in the study of life history trade-offs and human adaptability. Human athletic paleobiology-the recruitment of athletes as study participants and the use of contemporary sports as a model for studying evolutionary theory-has great potential. Here, we draw from examples in the literature to provide a review of how the use of athletes as a model system is enhancing understanding of human evolutionary adaptation.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Volume

171

Issue

S70

Pages

42 - 59

Publisher

Wiley

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© the Authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Wiley under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

12/12/2019

Publication date

2020-01-20

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0002-9483

eISSN

1096-8644

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Daniel Longman Deposit date: 6 February 2020