What a luck that we sweat

Une chance qu'on a la sueur

The next time you see a distance runner shiny under a blazing sun by forty degrees at noon, do you shout not: “What a fool!” You say that it is a tribute to the genius of the species. Because that is the superpower of humanity, we learn from anthropologists*: the ability to run extremely long in difficult circumstances.

When mankind dreams of fabulous powers, it is often to fly like a bird breath under water like the fish or regenerate in the case of mutilation, as some lizards.

Our heroes have a strength titanic (Hercules, Superman), move at the speed of lightning (Hermès, Flash), see through walls or read minds.

But the special power par excellence of the human, the one who explains her rise to the rank of predator alpha, ready rather to laugh, because it seemed like a bad joke: the copious sweating. Our ability to lower our body temperature by sweating an awful lot, we can catch up in the race all the animals, with enough patience.

Wonderful feet

A long time before the History with a capital letter, the human race has been hunted to the point of exhaustion. Testimony of the past to be decisive: our feet, these marvels of evolution that enable you to browse, without shoes, distances unimaginable to any other species.

One only has to chase the game, ideally during a heat wave, until he falls, overcome by a heat stroke. The hotter it gets, the more the prey is easy to catch; the heat wave is also our friend.

Exceed the horse

Not only quadrupeds are incapable of sweat must dispose of their excess heat by panting, but their stride dictates their breathing, which condemns them to certain rhythms pre-determined. For example, the horse has the chance to be able to sweat, but he must go to the walk, at a trot or at a gallop — nothing between the three.

Humanity creature has a rib cage freed from the burden of the wake, so the fate of the three speeds. By choosing a pace issue for the quadruped chased, forced to run inefficiently, they fatigue quickly, and then, it is the barbecue.

Last year, the traditional race Man vs. Horse, Prescott Arizona, the best runner has completed 50 miles (80.5 km) of trip mountain in 6 hours 14 minutes, and the best horse in 7 hours and 30 minutes. For the ultrarunner, Joan Roch (crosses to foot the frozen St. Lawrence river during the winter to come and go from the office), he has already beaten horses in the race and used their water bowls as a bathroom to freshen up. Since that ultramarathons are gaining popularity, some see it as a fashion; perhaps it is rather a return to basics, a rediscovery.

* This column touted ideas that are in tune with the times and recognise those who have read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, Born to run by Christopher McDougall or The secret of our success by Joseph Henrich.

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