Edinburgh, October 15 (ANI): A leading anthropologist has suggested that ancient aboriginals in Australia would have outrun Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, while a Neanderthal woman would have crushed Arnold Schwarzenegger in arm-wrestling.
According to a report in The Scotsman, Peter McAllister, the author of "Manthropology: the Science of Inadequate Modern Man", claims men today are the weakest in history and would have been trumped in feats of strength or speed by our ancient ancestors.
McAllister finds evidence he believes proves modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping.
His conclusions about the speed of Australian aboriginals 20,000 years ago are based on a set of footprints, preserved in a fossilised claypan lake bed, of six men chasing prey.
An analysis of the footsteps of one of the men, dubbed T8, shows he reached speeds of 37 kph on a soft, muddy lake edge.
Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 kph during his then world 100 metres record of 9.69 seconds at last year's Beijing Olympics.
McAllister said that, with modern training, spiked shoes and rubberised tracks, aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 45 kph.
"We can assume they are running close to their maximum if they are chasing an animal. But if they can do that speed of 37 kph on very soft ground, I suspect there is a strong chance they would have outdone Usain Bolt if they had all the advantages that he does," he said.
"We can tell that T8 is accelerating towards the end of his tracks," he added.
Turning to the high jump, McAllister said photographs taken by a German anthropologist showed young men jumping heights of up to 2.52 metres early last century.
"They developed very phenomenal abilities in jumping. They were jumping from boyhood onwards to prove themselves," he said.
McAllister said that a Neanderthal woman had 10 per cent more muscle bulk than modern European man.
Trained to capacity, she would have reached 90 per cent of Schwarzenegger's bulk at his peak in the 1970s.
However, because of the quirk of her physiology, with a much shorter lower arm, he believes Neanderthal woman would have been able to "slam him to the table without a problem", he said. (ANI)