Washington: If humans were to be pitted against Neanderthals in a marathon, the former would win, says a new study.
Having said that, Neanderthal bones were built for long-distance walking and strength.
University of Arizona researcher David Raichlen and his colleagues have found that our modern human ancestors were better runner, because they have shorter limb bones, specifically Achilles tendon moment arm and calcaneal tuber from the calcaneus.
Recent studies have suggested that the speed of running is related to the length of these bones – the longer they are, the more energy the person uses to run.
"Endurance running is generally thought to be beneficial for gaining access to meat in hot environments, where hominins could have used pursuit hunting to run prey taxa into hyperthermia," Discovery News quoted Raichlen as saying.
"We hypothesize that endurance running performance may have been reduced in Neanderthals because they lived in cold climates."
But where modern humans would have aced in running events, Neanderthals would have had the upper hand in events like wrestling, rowing and archery, and humans winning cycling, triathlon and marathon competitions.
The study has been published in the Journal of Human Evolution.