The Evolutionary Battle Between Nerds and Jocks

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Believers in survival of the fittest may struggle to explain the existence of skinny weaklings in human society. Evolutionarily, the muscle-bound beefcakes should have banished the wimps from the face of the earth long ago. New research, however, shows that pipsqueaks may have some evolutionary benefits that jocks don’t have.

Scrawny people may have quicker reaction times than the more physically fit, according to research published on Science Daily. The researchers theorize that the more finely tuned reactions “may have evolved to help the weak get out of the way of approaching danger.”

The most hulking people also have a harder time battling disease. The New Scientist reports that “the downside of all that brawn is a poor immune system and an increased appetite.” The increased appetite may not seem like a bad thing today, but evolutionarily, having to constantly eat may was considered a disadvantage.

All’s not lost for the muscle-bound among us, however. More physically fit men are generally more attractive to women, tended to lose their virginity at a younger age, and had more life-time sexual partners. Researchers think that the relative costs and benefits of physical fitness may explain why both geeks and jocks still survive.

For John Hodgman’s  take on the culture war between nerds and jocks, watch the video below:

Sources: Science DailyNew Scientist

Image by Crimfants, licensed under Creative Commons.

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