The work of a Bournemouth University academic is to feature on a BBC documentary this weekend.
Dr John Stewart will feature on the BBC Two show ‘Neanderthals – Meet your ancestors’ talking about his research into Neanderthals, specifically their running abilities.
Speaking ahead of the show, Dr Stewart said, “The long accepted view of Neanderthals, that they had less brain than brawn, is coming under scrutiny. However, the fact is that they were very powerfully built. This anatomy and the likelihood that they hunted in more wooded environments suggests that they were proficient sprinters. Hunting in woodlands means they would have come across prey suddenly, and had to react fast to bring it down. This is the crux of my hypothesis, being that the Neanderthal’s anatomy means they were built for sprinting, rather than longer distance running.”
John has been collaborating with Professor Mark Thomas and Dr. Yoan Diekmann of University College London (UCL) who have looked at the genetics of power versus endurance locomotion in the Neanderthal, with Dr Stewart’s sprinting hypothesis finding support.
The show Neanderthals – Meet Your Ancestors will air on BBC Two at 8pm on both Sunday 13th and Sunday 20th May 2018.