Tuesday, April 25, 2017

quick share: Homo naledi has been dated

This story doesn't (at least yet) inform the evolution of human energetics, running, or the like, but I feel remiss if I don't share some of the big human evolution stories here, and this one's big.

A few years ago, the Naledi hominin fossils joined the ranks of the Dmanisi and Flores specimens in confusing the hell out of us.  Small brained, primitive looking humans were in places we didn't expect, at times we really didn't expect.  The Naledi hominins are the strangest of all, but we didn't know how old they were.  They've finally been dated to 200,000 to 300,000 years.  That is... very recent.  If this date is verified, there are some big implications for our understanding of the human timeline.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2128834-homo-naledi-is-only-250000-years-old-heres-why-that-matters

quick share: the IT band and elastic energy storage

It's a weird piece of meat, a sort of connective tissue with muscles attached.  If you're a runner it may have at some point caused you grief, and you might have then rolled it out with a large and overpriced foam cylinder.

The paper below presents some of the first good evidence that the IT band stores and returns elastic energy during running- like the Achilles tendon-- increasing efficiency.  These things didn't evolve for walking alone, folks.

Paper here:
 https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_Biewener/publication/279988265_The_capacity_of_the_human_iliotibial_band_to_store_elastic_energy_during_running/links/5734596908ae298602de7519.pdf

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mountain running/Strava paper is up

http://physreports.physiology.org/content/5/8/e13256

Here is the culmination of a side project I did in Summer 2016.  The primary contribution of this paper is to demonstrate how athletic social media data (ie, Strava) can be used to ask physiological questions.  But, in the discussion we got to chew on some mountain running science too, which was fun.  More on this will posted to the "mountain runnig science" tab on this blog.