Anybody read this insightful book? I must admit I was floored by how weak and feeble we have become compared to our ancestors of just 500 generations ago. I don't think it would be a good read if you are uncomfortable with descriptive violence,mass war/rape/torture/cannibalistic scenarios.
However I think it would be a great read for anybody who wants to know more about unbiased science based (fossil/DNA based) about past hunter gatherers, that is not often talked about. I realized from reading this text, the truth about our past is not always this nice scenario where everyone is eating fresh natural food around a peaceful campfire, living this symbiotic relationship with other groups.
In conclusion, while everyone is trying to figure out what happened to the neanderthal and the exact path of human evolution, this author basically asks the question where have all the alpha males gone. He makes a strong case, even when using a simple comparison between a 140lbs female chimp(with less overall muscle mass) who spent her entire life in a cage testing out as being 4x as strong as a fully trained 200 pound adult male athletes.
asked byCory151 (1677)
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on February 10, 2012
at 10:18 PM
I know he was just trying to turn heads with the title, get someone to pick up the book etc, but he could have used the exact same comparison for females- females used to be much stronger on the whole too. But strength is not feminine, so he decided to just call the book "manthropology" and make strength the sole identifier of masculinity. That might sound like me just being a miffed female over the lack of "political correctness", but I think it becomes relevant when this book became a sort of media must-read for a little bit, bringing attention to the concept without portrayed the tongue-in-cheek aspect of the book.
Also, for the "unbiased science", hate to be picky, but this isn't it. Fossil records and DNA are solid, but interpretation isn't. The fact that a female chimp was directly compared to a male athlete just shows how framing works- yes the study may be true, yes it may be identified, but that doesn't mean it should have been interpreted that way. Do female chimps have an entirely different bone composition and ridiculous grip strength? Yes, and that is incomparable to humans. So does finding patterns and evidence while you are actively looking to support a hypothesis- you may see connections and overemphasize the importance of small details that you wouldn't if you hadn't already formed the hypothesis.
If your survival is not dependent on your physical strength, it doesn't become a major player in your life. If it does, however, then it is everything. My grandmother spent over 20 years raising 8 children, and she would shoot a deer every week or so for her family. She couldn't drive and didn't own a car, so she would have to rig up ropes to pull the deer back home, up to 10 kms in a trip. She did this usually with 1-2 babies strapped on her front and back. Upon getting home, she would use leverage to haul the deer up over a branch, so that she could let the blood drain out and butcher it with greater ease. She spent the rest of the day fishing and collecting oysters/muscles/berries/fruits/wild vegetables, with the remaining children who weren't school aged in tow. She is around 95 lbs and just under 5 feet tall. You do what you have to do, and we are still capable of it. I think you (and the author, without specifically implying it) are equating "western" stereotypes with how the world works now- most of the world lives below poverty line and have to perform multiple strenuous physical feats every day to survive. The women perform an enormous number of this tasks, which makes the title "manthropology" just seem insensitive.
on February 07, 2012
at 05:15 PM
The human physique is optimized for heat tolerance, not strength. As long as we could chase down prey in the heat of midday, when horizontal four-leggeds absorb too much sun to keep running, we had a cozy niche all to ourselves.
My guess is, our paleo ancestors always would have performed poorly versus chimps in tests of strength. They might have been a lot more physically fit than us, but not that much stronger. So the chimp comparison is invalid.
If you strand a chimp out on the savanna in the midday heat, we kill and eat 'em. Yum yum.
on February 07, 2012
at 06:47 PM
A fully mature FEMALE chimp could thrash any human alive in hand to hand combat. I judge this from research. Once I posted about this on some self defense/martial arts forum and the guys on there all got annoyed with me and denied it possible that they would lose to a chimp.
It comes down to strength to weight ratios, grips strength, and bone density. Chimps have denser, stronger bones, which can support more muscle strength. So a 110 pound female chimp would basically climb up any human and rip out out eyes, ears, hair, etc.
Even if a human wrestler got the female chimp into a rear naked choke hold, the chimp would just reach to anywhere on the wrestler, grab a tuft of hair, extremity, or fold of skin and rip it off.
Rule of thumb: NEVER shake hands with a chimp you don't know and trust completely.
on February 07, 2012
at 09:03 PM
A friend of mine researched chimp strength for his PHD. He said that per pound of muscle, chimps were something like 7-10 times stronger than humans. There were no significant physical differences in the muscle that would explain this and his hypothesis was that it was in how brain signaling activated the muscle. He also hypothesized that humans retain the ability to tap into their muscle's full potential in crisis situations, thus leading to stories of mothers picking up cars off their children and other crazy things.