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Thread: Modern Man 'a Wimp', Says Anthropologist

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    Modern Man 'a Wimp', Says Anthropologist

    Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.

    Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 meters during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.

    Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.

    These and other eye-catching claims are detailed in a book by Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister entitled "Manthropology" and provocatively sub-titled "The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male."

    McAllister sets out his stall in the opening sentence of the prologue.

    "If you're reading this then you - or the male you have bought it for - are the worst man in history.

    "No ifs, no buts -- the worst man, period...As a class we are in fact the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet."

    Delving into a wide range of source material McAllister finds evidence he believes proves that modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping.

    His conclusions about the speed of Australian aboriginals 20,000 years ago are based on a set of footprints, preserved in a fossilized claypan lake bed, of six men chasing prey.

    An analysis of the footsteps of one of the men, dubbed T8, shows he reached speeds of 37 kph on a soft, muddy lake edge. Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 kph during his then world 100 meters record of 9.69 seconds at last year's Beijing Olympics.

    In an interview in the English university town of Cambridge where he was temporarily resident, McAllister said that, with modern training, spiked shoes and rubberized tracks, aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 45 kph.

    "We can assume they are running close to their maximum if they are chasing an animal," he said.

    "But if they can do that speed of 37 kph on very soft ground I suspect there is a strong chance they would have outdone Usain Bolt if they had all the advantages that he does.

    "We can tell that T8 is accelerating toward the end of his tracks."

    McAllister said it was probable that any number of T8's contemporaries could have run as fast.

    "We have to remember too how incredibly rare these fossilizations are," he said. "What are the odds that you would get the fastest runner in Australia at that particular time in that particular place in such a way that was going to be preserved?"

    Turning to the high jump, McAllister said photographs taken by a German anthropologist showed young men jumping heights of up to 2.52 meters in the early years of last century.

    "It was an initiation ritual, everybody had to do it. They had to be able to jump their own height to progress to manhood," he said.

    "It was something they did all the time and they lived very active lives from a very early age. They developed very phenomenal abilities in jumping. They were jumping from boyhood onwards to prove themselves."

    McAllister said a Neanderthal woman had 10 percent more muscle bulk than modern European man. Trained to capacity she would have reached 90 percent of Schwarzenegger's bulk at his peak in the 1970s.

    "But because of the quirk of her physiology, with a much shorter lower arm, she would slam him to the table without a problem," he said.

    Manthropology abounds with other examples:

    * Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.

    * Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.

    * Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 meters or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48).

    McAllister said it was difficult to equate the ancient spear with the modern javelin but added: "Given other evidence of Aboriginal man's superb athleticism you'd have to wonder whether they couldn't have taken out every modern javelin event they entered."

    Why the decline?

    "We are so inactive these days and have been since the industrial revolution really kicked into gear," McAllister replied. "These people were much more robust than we were.

    "We don't see that because we convert to what things were like about 30 years ago. There's been such a stark improvement in times, technique has improved out of sight, times and heights have all improved vastly since then but if you go back further it's a different story.

    "At the start of the industrial revolution there are statistics about how much harder people worked then.

    "The human body is very plastic and it responds to stress. We have lost 40 percent of the shafts of our long bones because we have much less of a muscular load placed upon them these days.

    "We are simply not exposed to the same loads or challenges that people were in the ancient past and even in the recent past so our bodies haven't developed. Even the level of training that we do, our elite athletes, doesn't come close to replicating that.

    "We wouldn't want to go back to the brutality of those days but there are some things we would do well to profit from."
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...t-1802501.html

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    Senior Member rainman's Avatar
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    I don't believe that an ancient person who picked berries all day and occasionally hunted animals, or even an oarsman from Greece exercised less than modern athletes. At least if we take a UFC athlete for example. They work out 6 to 7 days a week for most of the day. I'm not buying that. They might have been stronger due to genetics but if you work out all day every day and reach your top potential how can you do any better than that?

    Once you get in good shape you platau it becomes very difficult to get in any kind of better shape no matter how hard you try. Progress will be very slow and it will reverse the moment you stop. What I mean say if you got off your fat lazy but and started bench pressing. First couple days you get sore. After that you start to progress rapidly, then you reach the natural point where you body should be and progress slows down, not long after even though you work out everyday you stop improving. To improve past that you need steroids, diet supplements etc. Even here you reach limits. Anybody who exercises knows that. You are pretty much limited by your genetics.

    Anyway its great to be in good shape but its of little importance. Comparing apples and oranges. A chimpanzee is stronger than me but its a totally different species. I'm more concerned about how intelligent and civilized I am and how capable of surviving. Too much mucle and such burns calories. These calories could be used to feed the brain instead. We have thinner bones, which makes us weaker, but it gives more room for larger brains. You can't have your cake and eat it too. you can't increase strength and intelligence infinitely- once you get to an optimal state you pretty much work to maintain that both genetically and through lifestyle

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    Somethings might have been environmental, too, at least when comparing apples to apples.

    Like tools were heavier, simple tasks took more muscle. A bucket full of milk would have been made of heavy wood instead of galvenized metal, this doubled the weight. Constructing a fence would have been wood or stone, not chainlink and tube steel. A hammer weighed 1.5 pounds vs. todays 1 pound framer. Things were done by hand, like making butter or grinding coffee. Even water had to be toted in, and waste toted out.

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    He measures maleness by how far and high one can jump?

    Do I need to ask more?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zimobog View Post
    Somethings might have been environmental, too, at least when comparing apples to apples.

    Like tools were heavier, simple tasks took more muscle. A bucket full of milk would have been made of heavy wood instead of galvenized metal, this doubled the weight. Constructing a fence would have been wood or stone, not chainlink and tube steel. A hammer weighed 1.5 pounds vs. todays 1 pound framer. Things were done by hand, like making butter or grinding coffee. Even water had to be toted in, and waste toted out.
    I agree, The human body is very tough just think about the rough conditions some people go though and make it.

    The old order Amish are good example of this they work all day from before daylight to just after dark six days a week. In the evening they joke and laugh as if they had done nothing all day.

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    An anecdote about the Amish: A researcher wondered why the Amish were so trim and fit, despite eating so much lard, butter, cheese, meat, and all the things that are "bad". He convinced a group of them to wear pedometers for a week, to which they asked that they be old fashioned pedular type. The researcher commented in suprise when he found one old farmer had walked five miles in one morning, to which the farmer replied, "Yes, and them twernt no easy five miles, neither."

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    That man should spend one day training with the United States Marine Corps.If he survived ,then I might listen to him.Men and women get stronger and faster every day. Physical achievment records are broken all of the time. If modern man choses to he can be very healthy and strong as knowledge about food and vitamins and training are greater now than ever

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    since when did physical strength make one better, we've lost strength but gained brain power - I'd certainly take brains over brawn any day.

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    Modern work is unhealthy and unnatural though. I could work 15 hours a day 6 days a week doing normal work, but couldn't do half that in today's environment. For example when I don't have a job I get in great physical shape. Have a job- get out of shape but always tired and exausted. Another outward symbol of our sick culture. It weakens and sickens people. Yeah I guess it is environment.

    Most of it results from stupidity though. For example if I go work flipping burgers I'll be asked to work 8 hours without a break. yet a 15 minute break makes me more productive, stronger and healthier. Or I'm asked to repeat the same task over and over again. This is unhealthy. It would be better to do a variety of tasks. There are some companies that have poineered other ways of doing things and it has superior results. For example: having people vary their tasks. Having people take different jobs in the company, even ones they don't specialize in part of the time. things of that nature.

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