Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Short Legs Kick Ass
Short Legs Made Human Predecessors Better Fighters
By Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 12 March 2007
11:01 am ET
Our ape-like predecessors kept their stout figures for 2 million years because having short legs ironically gave them the upper-hand in male-male combat for access to mates, finds a new study.
Living from 4 million to 2 million years ago, early hominins in the genus Australopithecus are considered immediate predecessors of the human genus Homo, and had heights of around 3 feet 9 inches for females and 4 feet 6 inches for males.
Until now, the squat physiques of Australopiths and other human predecessors were considered an adaptation for climbing in tree canopies. Like surfing or any other sport that requires balance, having a lower center of mass boosts stability and, in turn, success at the activity.
“The old argument was that [apes] retained short legs to help them climb trees that still were an important part of their habitat,” said the study author David Carrier, a biologist at the University of Utah. “My argument is that they retained short legs because short legs helped them fight.”
(Edit.)-- More at:
UPDATE (edit)- Here is a comment I was fishing for, from Cricket:
Little Cricket said...
Hi Dojo Rat,
You have a very informative weblog (I don't mean just this article).
However, (being short legged), I don't agree with the title Short Legs 'Kick' Ass. I learn taekwondo, and countless times have been trounced during sparring because long-legged people swipe kicks easily at my head, while I have to make do with kicks aimed directly at the torso and rarely the head. :)
I experianced the same problems in Tae Kwon Do. I moved on to other martial arts after I achieved my 2nd Dan Black Belt in TKD.
TKD sparring, especially Olympic-style rules require fighting from a certain range- that which allows kicking to the head. This is clearly long-range fighting and you have to be an extremely good kicker to fight effectively from that range. No real fight can be conducted like that. Furthermore, TKD guys can't handle people grabbing their kicking legs or punching them in the face. The Art is great for sports combat but basicly sucks for serious fighting. Once you learn to move inside their kicking range and jam them up they have lost their edge.
If I can, I will try to repost my article on my TKd experiance-- Dojo Rat