Two men viewed from behind as they run up a mountain trail.
Two men viewed from behind as they run up a mountain trail.

Born to Run with Chris McDougall and Herman Pontzer

Two men viewed from behind as they run up a mountain trail.
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About This Episode

Have you ever seen a chimpanzee go for a jog? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice discover how humans started running with journalist and author of Born to Run, Chris McDougall, and evolutionary biologist, Herman Pontzer. Why do we run?

When did we get the ability to run? Did we give up other skills in order to develop this one? Find out about the physiological changes in our early human ancestors that allowed us to run in a way our closest cousins can’t. What did early Homo sapiens do with these anatomical changes? We discuss migration, persistence hunting, and recreationalizing survival behavior. What does it really mean to “sweat like a pig”?

Does our mental ingenuity outstrip physical adaptation? We break down calories and the energy it takes for us to eat and support our massive brains. How do we bridge this caloric gap? What’s more efficient, hunting and gathering or industrialization? The answer… might surprise you. Learn about the Hadza from Tanzania and how they travel and utilize calories throughout the day.

Is running bad for the body? If we are born to run why do we get so many injuries? You’ll learn about the Tarahumara from Mexico and their ability to run extremely long distances. Can you run a 100-mile ultramarathon in a pair of sandals? Why can they? Find out how diet and exercise actually work with the body. Is running a chore or something innate? Can it be both? Are humans really born to run?

Thanks to our Patrons Alex Ornelas, Albert Holk, Andrew, Vic Chohda, Nina Barton, Jeff Crain, BigYay Theory (Yancey), eric pihl, Roman Prekop for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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