IF YOU think you’re no good at running, bear this in mind: you could still outrun a Neanderthal. In fact, their inferior running ability may have been why they went extinct and our ancestors did not. Appropriately enough, it all came down to their Achilles tendon.
There have long been claims that Neanderthals were weaker runners than modern humansMovie Camera, says David Raichlen of the University of Arizona in Tucson, but until now, there was no convincing evidence.
In runners, the tendon acts as an energy store, stretching like a spring as the foot lands then bouncing back to help lift it again. Raichlen reasoned that the more energy is stored within the tendon, the more efficient the runner.
You know, I kind of like this hypothesis, not necessarily for the running angle but from the habitat and subsistence strategy perspective. One might argue that H.s.s. still had a hand in making them go extinct if their presence did not allow for Neanders to utilize their more undesired territories outside of refugia when their preferred habitat became scarce.