Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homo sapiens or Homo ingurgitate?

As you can see from the graph, about 1.2 million years ago there was quite the big shake out in hominid affairs as the species of the genus Homo replaced all previous iterations of hominins to become the dominant hominid. I suppose that you don't need to look at the graph to know that the last species of Homo standing is Homo sapiens.

If asked to explain why early humans ended up in the winners circle while our phylogenetic cousins were booted into oblivion what would you say? An evolutionary biologist would surely cite aptations like the ability to run long distances and precocious communication skills along with a host of other morphological and behavioral phenotypic characteristics.

But I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that Homo sapiens won the race to now because we were able (aptated) to eat faster than other species of hominids? I'm exasperating  exaggerating, of course, but there is abundant evidence that humans can eat a lot of food very quickly and it is not unreasonable to entertain the idea that it was, at minimum, a factor in our success.

Actually, what got me thinking along these lines was the discovery of the existence of an organization called the Major League Eating and International Federation of Competitive Eating. It appears to be an organization that organizes, promotes and manages events where eater athletes try to out eat each other. The very idea of competitive eating is completely disgusting  but it may offer a hint about how, by being pigs,  we ended up being the last hominids standing. 

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