Table of Contents

Volume 498 Number 7455 pp407-532

27 June 2013

About the cover

Darwin speculated that bipedalism might have contributed to humans' unique ability to throw things so well. Although some primates, including our closest relatives — chimpanzees, will throw objects now and then, their throws do not come close to matching the speed and accuracy achieved by even young human boys. Neil Roach and colleagues analysed the biomechanics of collegiate baseball players' throwing motion in order to better understand the evolution of this novel behaviour. Their findings show that adaptations in the human upper body allow us to store and release elastic energy in the shoulder in a catapult-like fashion. Evidence of these key shifts in morphology that make this energy storage possible is preserved in the hominin fossil record. From these fossils, the authors infer that the ability to throw objects with high speed probably arose with Homo erectus, and may have had a crucial role in early hunting. Cover: Corbis

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