The humanly art of throwing

The next time you watch a baseball player throw a pitch, you can thank a hunter from two million years ago, apparently.

If it weren’t for our ability to throw, we’d all be having lunch eating our front lawns today.

The BBC reports on a study in Nature that traces the origins of humans’ ability to throw, and finds it all comes back to a love of meat. We evolved primarily to hunt. The 93 mph fastball was just a bonus:

Success at hunting allowed our ancestors to become part-time carnivores, eating more calorie-rich meat and fat and dramatically improving the quality of their diet.

“This dietary change led to seismic shifts in our ancestors’ biology, allowing them to grow larger bodies, larger brains, and to have more children, and it also did interesting things to our social structure.

“We start to see the origins of divisions of labour around that time, where some would be hunting, others would be gathering new foods.

“It probably also allowed us to move to new environments, such as areas that did not have vegetation to support us before we had the ability to hunt,” Dr Roach told BBC News

All the scientists involved in the study or contacted by the BBC, however, say they’re not really sure their conclusion about the role of hunting is fact.

  • Chuck

    Doing anything with the “wrong hand” is hard. When I was in 8th grade, playing center in a basketball game, I decided to dribble to the hoop and shoot with my left (nondominant) hand. I tried to heave the ball up there and–bonk! It bounced right off the bottom of the rim. Coach called time out right away. I thought I was in trouble for messing up, but instead, he said he was proud of me for trying the left-handed shot. The takeaway: be proud of yourselves, left-handed-throwing men! At least you’re not afraid to look foolish as you try something new.