The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution [and Comments and Reply]

  title={The Energetic Paradox of Human Running and Hominid Evolution [and Comments and Reply]},
  author={David R. Carrier and Anup Kumar Kapoor and Tasuku Kimura and Martin K. Nickels and Eugenie C Scott and Joseph K. So and Erik Trinkaus},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={483 - 495}
The energetic cost of running is relatively high in man. In spite of this, humans are adept endurance runners, capable of running down, for example, zebra and kangaroo. Distance running is made possible for man in part by an exceptional ability to dissipate exercise heat loads. Most mammals lose heat by panting, which is coupled to breathing and locomotor cycles during running. This interdependence may limit the effectiveness of panting as a means of heat dissipation. Because sweating is not… 
Thermoregulation and endurance running in extinct hominins: Wheeler's models revisited.
Human locomotion and heat loss: an evolutionary perspective.
As modern humans dispersed into a wide range of habitats over the last few hundred thousand years, recent selection has helped populations cope better with a broader range of locomotor and thermoregulatory challenges, but all humans remain essentially adapted for long distance locomotion rather than speed, and to dump rather than retain heat.
The evolution of human fatigue resistance.
The hypothesis is that since fatigue is an important factor that limits the ability to perform endurance-based activities, fatigue resistance was likely an important target for selection during human evolution for improved endurance capabilities.
Endurance running and the evolution of Homo
Judged by several criteria, humans perform remarkably well at endurance running, thanks to a diverse array of features, many of which leave traces in the skeleton.
The energetic cost of locomotion: humans and primates compared to generalized endotherms.
Reconsidering the effects of respiratory constraints on the optimal running speed.
The observed minimum cost of transport (CoT) is explained by analyzing metabolic cost with respect to entrainment and a standard set of anthropometrics and it seems that bipedalism removed the respiratory constraints associated with quadrupedalism as originally suggested.
Alternative Metabolic Strategies are Employed by Endurance Runners of Different Body Sizes; Implications for Human Evolution
The results suggest that, while individuals with low mass and good RE can glide economically as they run, larger individuals can compensate for the negative effects their mass has on RE by increasing their capacity to consume oxygen.


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Phase locking of limb and respiratory frequency has now been recorded during treadmill running in jackrabbits and during locomotion on solid ground in dogs, horses, and humans, suggesting that strict locomotor-respiratory coupling may be a vital factor in the sustained aerobic exercise of endothermic vertebrates, especially those in which the stresses of locomotion tend to deform the thoracic complex.
Gait and the energetics of locomotion in horses
It is confirmed that the natural gait at any speed indeed entails the smallest possible energy expenditure, and rates of oxygen consumption as an indicator of rates of energy consumption are used.
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The hunting dog’s low evaporation while running might increase the distance it can pursue its prey, and the hunting dog, like the domestic dog, increased respiratory evagination and maintained a nearly constant rectal temperature at high air temperatures.
Mechanical work in terrestrial locomotion: two basic mechanisms for minimizing energy expenditure.
During running, trotting, hopping, and galloping, the power per unit weight required to maintain the forward speed of the center of mass is almost the same in all the species studied and the sum of these two powers is almost a linear function of speed.
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This series of four papers investigates the link between the energetics and the mechanics of terrestrial locomotion using data from 62 avian and mammalian species to formulate a new allometric equation relating mass-specific rates of oxygen consumed during locomotion at a constant speed to speed and body mass.
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It is found that steady-state oxygen consumption of seven groups of mammals (21 g-18 kg) increased almost linearly with running speed, and could be expressed by linear equations.
Sweating in the kangaroo: a cooling mechanism during exercise, but not in the heat.
The heat balance of kangaroos resting at 24OC was compared with that of animals hopping on a treadmill at a speed of 4 km, and sweating appeared under the control of adrenergic neurons, the receptors being a-receptors.
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It is concluded that bipedalism bestowed an energetic advantage on the Miocene hominoid ancestors of the Hominidae.
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  • H. Preuschoft
  • Geography
    Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology
  • 1971
The investigation is based primarily on the foot and leg bones from Olduvai Gorge, andalyses of this type are used to improve knowledge about Early Pleistocene hominids from East and South Africa.
Why man is such a sweaty and thirsty naked animal: a speculative review.
The argument that this shift from forest to grassland resulted in certain physiological adaptations to environmental heat loads that still characterize man's species is presented.