The athletic abilities of Homo sapiens have evolved from our primate treetop, bipedal and toolmaking stages.


Why are humans good at certain athletic things? It seems evolution is the key. Our abilities developed long before we became Homo sapiens and evolved over several stages.

Running. Evolving to be bipedal:

  • Made our pelvis shorter and wider, exerting force mostly through muscles in our buttocks and legs instead of backs and shoulders.
  • Allowed running long distances  through longer legs and shorter Achilles tendons.

Sweating. Human body hair being shorter and finer than other living primates allows:

Throwing. Our rotatable shoulder joint (from tree dwelling ancestors) allowed:

  • Hunting with spears.
  • The butterfly swimming stroke.

Hands. Opposable thumbs

  • Evolving through toolmaking, gave the ability to apply force in either a strong or delicate grasp.
  • The more competitive the sport, the greater the percentage of left handers.

Ball Skills. Children use ball play to develop adult skills:

  • Accuracy.
  • Power.
  • Hand-eye coordination.