view tagged posts from:
Actually, Dr. Bramble was surprised to find that all running mammals are restricted to the same cycle of take-a-step, take-a-breath. In the entire world, he and David could only find one exception: You...we’re the only mammals that shed most of our heat by sweating. All the pelt-covered creatures in the world cool off primarily by breathing, which locks their entire heat-regulating system to their lungs. But humans, with our millions of sweat glands, are the best air-cooled engine that evolution has ever put on the market.
Common chimps were the perfect place to start. Not only are they a classic example of the walking animal, but they’re also our closest living relative; after more than six million years of separate evolution, we still share 95 percent of our DNA sequence with chimps. But what we don’t share, Bramble noted, is an Achilles tendon, which connects the calf to the heel: we’ve got one, chimps don’t. We have very different feet: ours are arched, chimps’ are flat. Our toes are short and straight, which helps running, while chimps’ are long and splayed, much better for walking. And check out our butts: we’ve got a hefty gluteus maximus, chimps have virtually none. Dr. Bramble then focused on a little-known tendon behind the head known as the nuchal ligament. Chimps don’t have a nuchal ligament. Neither do pigs. Know who does? Dogs. Horses. And humans.