Walking for warmth: a reassessment of Neanderthal locomotor inefficiency
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Neanderthals have large body masses and reduced lower limb lengths, which reduced body surface area to the cold, and have been proposed to be cold-climate adaptations. However, these cold climate adaptations have been suggested to reduce Neanderthal locomotor efficiency - increasing the metabolic cost to walk and run. This increased locomotor cost is one reason Neanderthals had higher total energy expenditures (TEE) than modern humans. Here, I demonstrate that among highly active modern humans living in natural environments, higher activity costs help to mitigate thermoregulatory costs in cold climates. Heat produced during activity can be used in place of heat produced through thermoregulatory processes to maintain a constant body temperature in cold conditions, and reduce overall thermoregulatory costs. Thermoregulatory costs were estimated among a group of healthy adults (N=30) participating in National Outdoor Leadership School semester long courses in two ways: potential thermoregulatory costs with the addition of heat produced from activity and potential thermoregulatory costs without the addition heat produced from activity. Thermoregulatory costs estimated without heat from activity were 29% higher than estimated costs, which included activity (p
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Ocobock, Cara, "Walking for warmth: a reassessment of Neanderthal locomotor inefficiency" (2015). Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants. 492.