Eli5: Why are most of the world’s fastest runners Black?


Eli5: Why are most of the world’s fastest runners Black?

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So, before we get started, remember that we are talking about _outliers_ here. The very tail end of the curve; the most extreme data points in the data set. Very minor genetic changes can have a massive impact when you are dealing with the outliers. That said.

Humans evovled to be best suited for their climates. Go back far enough in our history and we all started out as hairy ape-like creatures. As we evolved into endurance hunters, our bodies underwent changes – we lost our body hair to help regulate heat, we grew longer and thinner limbs to better walk on two feet, and we developed more pigmentation in our skin to help block out the sun as we no longer had hair to help with that. Those attributes all help us with running.

As we migrated to other areas, we evolved to adapt to those environments as well. As climates became less sunny, we evolved less pigment to better process vitamin D, as areas became more forested the need for endurance decreased, as the weather became colder a shorter and stockier body type was preferred. Those new attributes were better for our new environments, but less helpful for running.

So the folks that remained in areas where running attributes were still most helpful retained those attributes.

Humans evolved in Africa so Africans have the greatest genetic diversity. The tallest, shortest, fastest, and slowest should all be genetically African.

Africa is home to the original humans and all humans you see come from there. In a nutshell, Africans contain genetic material that evolved into ALL the variety of humans you see today.

Look at people in Africa today – they are some of the tallest (Tutsi) people on Earth as well as the shortest (pygmy). Wouldn’t it make sense that Africa is home to some of the fastest runners?