Please Read the following article:
Baseball is America’s past time as well as one of its oldest and most prestigious sports. No position has dominated the sport more than the pitcher. The article above makes a seemingly trivial point: a strong throwing motion is an evolutionarily desirable trait. Humans have a unique ability, which differentiates them from every other species in the world: the ability to throw objects extremely fast and accurately.
It is common knowledge that hominid species including Homo erectus, Homo neanderthal, and Homo sapien all used tools to hunt large prey. Many of the earliest tools were simple objects that could be thrown, such as rocks and sharpened sticks. Is it possible that the throwing technique of modern day MLB pitchers closely resembles that utilized by Homo erectus and Homo Neanderthal? According to Dr. Neil Roach and David Carrier, the probability is high. In essence, they make the argument that throwing is not a skill that is taught, but more so that the ability to throw is an evolutionary trait. Therefore the argument can be made that, since throwing is instinctual, Homo erectus may have used a very similar technique when hunting mammals on the European plains, to the one Mariano Rivera uses when striking out an opposing ball player.
Modern research conducted by Daniel Lieberman and Dr. Roach shows that the ability to throw is a product of the anatomical structure of the human shoulder. The scientific research conducted concludes that, unlike other primates, the human shoulder is relatively open, allowing humans to store energy as they windup and release that extra energy when throwing the object. New scientific data shows that the human’s ability to contort its upper body adds even more energy to the windup and results in the human’s excellent throwing ability. Primates such as chimpanzees have closed shoulders, resulting in the inability to capture that extra energy. It is unquestionable that a strong throwing arm is a desirable evolutionary trait.
A fundamentally deeper question that is proposed is how large of an effect did throwing motion have on human evolution. Dr. Roach believes that the hominid’s throwing ability played a huge role in human evolution, especially considering its effect on their diet. As he explains in a short video, “throwing was an important part of hunting and allowed our hominid ancestors who didn’t have any weapons… to use simple technologies.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_bYlY6AHew) He credits human’s ability to hunt large game as a predecessor to the development of larger bodies and brain sizes. So can the evolutionary success of the Homo sapien species be traced back to the ability to throw? Most likely not; nonetheless, it was a substantial factor in hominid evolution.
On a separate note, the author of the article is James Gorman. James Gorman primarily writes for the science section of the New York Times. I found that he used a very effective technique to broaden his reader base. Instead of simply writing on the subject of the evolution of human’s throwing ability, he broadens his reader base by making a correlation to MLB pitchers.