Humans Aren’t So Special

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On the ride the other day Bill was telling me this story of a mountain lion that was seen in Connecticut. Bill has a degree in wildlife something and seems to be really interested in mountain lions for some reason. The story was a mountain lion that was hit by a car in Connecticut and had walked there from the Black Hills of South Dakota. This article confirms it really happened. Anyway, mountain lions don’t normally wander so far, but it is amazing that this guy made it half way across the US in today’s world. It is a true tragedy that he got hit by a car.

I was thinking about how special so many animals are and how humans lack most of the ordinary skills that lots of mammals possess. I think it is strange that we have to eat so much. I don’t know why it is that humans have to eat a few times each and every day. Not saying that we can’t get by for a day or two without food, but if we have our druthers, we eat daily, more than daily. It seems like we have to eat way too often. I don’t really know about the quantity of the food compared to other mammals, but I sometimes wish we could just stock up internally on food and then go for a few days without worrying about it.

And most all mammals can out perform humans athletically. I think it is amazing that an out of shape dog, about any dog, can out run an elite trained human. Deer, horses, camels, you name it, seem to be more fit that super fit humans. That isn’t even taking into consideration the average, out of shape, human. That isn’t a competition at all.

I’ve been watching this kitten mature in front of my very eyes this past week. It is getting so much more coordinated in such a short time. I know cats don’t live nearly as long as a human, but this guy is less than 5 weeks old and can pretty much take care of himself. More than take care of himself. At three weeks old, he sort of took care of himself, by subsisting on bugs and such when he got separated from his mother. There is not chance a human baby could do that, even if we gave it a couple years. It doesn’t seem right.

Anyway, the point of this whole thing is that we, as humans, shouldn’t go and think we’re all so special. And we, as athletes, should remember, no matter how trained we are and how refined we become, an old, sick horse can out run most of us all of the time. So, let’s just look at sport as what it is, just a way for us humans to compare ourselves to each other. Nothing more, nothing less.

This guy could kick most of our asses in about any race.

15 thoughts on “Humans Aren’t So Special

  1. cadd slader

    I bet you 18 dollars that I could beat a kitten, or even that ugly horse, in a bike race.

  2. Zach T.

    Humans may not be faster, but we have endurance. It’s how we caught prey on the savannah — we’d simply just track animals til they dropped from sheer exhaustion. A human in good shape can run 10-15 miles in a go with few problems — few animals can do that.

  3. SterlingS

    I remember years ago coming across one of those lanky swinging-type monkeys in a cage. He grabbed my sleeve, pulled and nearly yanked me off my feet. I still remember being absolutely amazed how much strength was in that monkey’s skinny little arm. Scary strong.

    (some) Humans can be pretty damned disgusting really. We just picked up our second rescue dog from Oklahoma yesterday. Someone threw nine pups over a bridge, three swam to one side and six to the other bank. ARK of McCurtain County ended up with them. This is our second one in three weeks from them and now we’re full for about the next 10-15 years or so. Those two sisters and their mother that help run that organization are true saints.

  4. Brady

    He eats once a day, skipping breakfast and lunch. After a long, intense day of training, he eats salad and bread for dinner. He doesn’t care for meat or fuss about getting enough protein. (Hershel) Walker’s a vegetarian. Sometimes, Walker doesn’t have an appetite and will go through seven hours of wrestling, kickboxing, sparring and practicing jujitsu without having eaten for three or four days

    quotes taken from cnn

  5. Zach

    Many animals could run that far if need be, but it doesnt make any sense. If a human did it, they would need recovery, which you get on the couch. Recovery in the savannah means dinner for someone else because you wasted your energy running around for the hell of it.

    Humans have traded athletic ability and precociousness for brains, which allows us to sit and marvel at the amazing qualities the things in the world possess from the comfort of our A/C living room on the couch with a laptop.

  6. trey h.

    Steve- you may be interested in reading “Why We Run” by evolutionary biologist (and ultra-marathoner) Bernd Heinrich. It may make you reconsider your views, at least re: our ability to perform in the heat. Hope you’re having fun riding in the cool climes of CO.

  7. Jim

    Well, humans use up a lot of mental energy if they think about stuff like where to make the move. Plus blogging at this level takes a lot of trips to the buffet table. And another thing, horses don’t blog. All they can do is run fast and be noble.

  8. Julie Bogacki-Davis

    That’s funny Cadd & Sterling you’re right–there are a lot of people who are extremely cruel to animals. Living in an agricultural town, all I have to do is look around and see it everywhere. It bothers me so much I don’t even want to think about it. Steve–who’s horse is that? More than likely the horse is old. Old horses have difficulty keeping weight on. However, there’s no excuse for this horse to be that thin. First of all who ever owns this horse should have his teeth checked. Unlike human teeth, horse teeth grow and need to be filed on a regular basis. Unkept teeth can not only lead to sores in the mouth, but the inability to chew food properly. As a result most of the food falls out of the mouth resulting in lack of nutrition and food for the horse. Also, there is feed out there specifically for old horses or ones to put weight on horses for those who have difficulty keeping it on. Lastly, horses need to be on a good worming program in order to keep the horse healthy and keep thier digestion systems in check. Steve you seem to care a lot about animals. Maybe we as cyclists can do something to contribute and help these creatures that depend so much on us to look out for their best interests?

  9. Gary Crandall

    Steve, We followed that mountain lion across the country story with great interest as it turns out that according to the DNA evidence, the very same mtn lion passed through Cable also. Not sure if it was the one Sara saw on the opposite side of Picture Lake from our house but they have been spotted locally.

  10. Jonny Bold

    Really awesome thinking! Funny too. When I saw the horse picture and caption, I laughed as hard as I had for a long time, then I read Cadd’s comment and laughed even harder.

    Thanks for that

  11. Dennis Weinbeck

    Another thing animals show is unending compassion and unconditional love. It amazes me how loyal my dogs are

  12. Steve Wathke

    What about turtles? They’re slow. Oh wait. They’re reptiles. They live long and move slow. We live long and we’re smarter and faster. Turtles have races and they’re always saying it is what is. We are turtles and any 85 year old human could kick our ass but we’re just gonna keep on racing that rabbit. Slow and steady wins the race. Now a baby turtle..i gotta say he’s gonna beat an infant hands down. 🙂

  13. Jim

    Horses and other domesticated animals are a bit of an unfair comparison. They have been bred over many generations (by humans) to be stronger, faster, etc. We have to rely on natural selection which isn’t nearly as fast/efficient (and in modern times, being physically strong/fast really isn’t necessary, at least in the first world).

  14. Matthew

    We would lose in a sprint with pretty much any other critter on earth, granted, but we are built to run down other animals. Google “persistance hunting”.
    We are designed to jog after animals, keeping ourselves cooler than them (due to the fact that we are relatively hairless and therefore more efficient sweating animals). Our endurance, combined with our mental ability to actively keep the other animals from staying in cooling areas (shade), results in our being able to literally run almost any animal on Earth to death (including horses). Of course, this all is based off of the assumption that the human in question is in a generally arid environment and is in decent shape (both of which were the case as we moved up the evolutionary ladder).
    BTW, I am so pleased to hear about the Kitten! 🙂

  15. Jeff

    As a biology major (25 years ago) , and still endlessly fascinated by all animals, I still think Shakespear got it right with the line, “Man is the paragon of animals”, for this reason: Free Will.

    As awesome as a cheetah’s instincts are, could you imagine one selling a race (kill) to another, saying, “Hey, maybe you can let me kill the next one”?


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