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Persistence hunting: a type of hunting that uses long-distance running to tire out prey.  ... more

Projectile technology: a tool or weapon that can be shot at a target from a distance.

Running cross-country

Depiction of a footrace in ancient Greece. Image by an unknown artist.Do you like to run? When you play outside or play sports, you probably run a lot. Humans are very good at running over long distances (also called endurance running). Although we do not have the speed of other animals, like cheetahs, we have endurance. Endurance running allowed our ancestors to hunt down animals. Scientists call this persistence hunting.

Persistence hunting involves chasing an animal (by running, walking, and tracking that animal) until the animal is too tired to run away. Part of the reason humans can keep running for such long distances is that we are good at staying cool in hot environments. Because we can release our body heat by sweating, we don’t overheat, so we can outrun other animals. When the animal can no longer run, it is captured and killed. This method is very effective in the hot African savanna.

Persistence hunting likely evolved many generations before the invention of projectile weapons. Projectile weapons, such as spears, or bows and arrows, allowed humans to hunt prey from a distance.

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