Born to run

Heed the message from our ancestors of more than a million years ago

Written by The Indian Express | Published:March 9, 2009 1:06 am

French philosopher Blaise Pascal noted,“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” Adding to this thought is the discovery of a single footprint found in Kenya that is at least 1.5 million years old,and has caused ripples in evolutionary study and philosophy. It offers substantial clues to how our ancestors,the Homo erectus,stood up on their feet and started a whole new process of life.

Linked to this discovery is one very curious thought. Anthropologist Daniel Lieberman from Harvard University talks of the arches in the foot,the conclusion reached is that man was intended to run. This brings with it a host of interesting questions and answers. Studies have shown that it took time for man to develop the complex tools he needed to hunt; in the absence of these it was his speed and ability to manoeuvre that brought the daily bread. Further it was at this point in time that the climate changes were taking place in a part of Africa — as man was standing up,the cool savannah was turning into arid land. Naturally the forces of nature were at odds with human development: but we managed fine.

This brings us to now: how have we progressed over the past 1.5 million years? One option is to look at the evolution over what is being offered to one single foot. The recession has hit all industries but one industry,which is still pulling its weight,is shoes. Yes,profits have dipped but this collection Chanel’s famous beige and black pumps,the signature style of Jane Birkin and Queen Rania of Jordan,are sold out in London,New York,Dubai and Miami. Set aside what the footprint tells us about our evolution,it also brings to light one fact: as

a species we nurture ourselves,whether it’s through food or fashion. It tells us important things about our development.

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