The Sprints Cost Them Dearly In the End
File this one under human experimentation I'm just fine with.
Researchers took to the flatlands of New Mexico to test a controversial theory of evolution: Humans evolved into endurance athletes who, on two legs, can run down the fastest animals on earth. To test the hypothesis, the researchers contracted an Ocean's Eleven-like crew of marathoners and some scattered pronghorn antelope.
The pronghorn tops out at 60 miles per hour, and developed those wheels to outrun the long-gone North American cheetah. And it can sprint - for thirty straight minutes.
The team of scientists wanted to mimic a hunt as closely as possible:
"Assuming they actually succeeded in chasing a buck to the point of exhaustion and still feel the resolve to kill it, a licensed hunter would dispatch the animal with a pistol shot. The use of a gun or bow is required, since New Mexico doesn't allow human-hurled projectiles, sticks, or bare hands to be used as hunting weapons."
Charles Bethea documents the chase in "Fair Chase" - in this month's Outside magazine. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.