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29
FEB

The Inner Neanderthal Surfaces

Filed Under: Health Concerns & Ailments at 8:52 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
The Evolution of Man

Pregnancy pushes the belly out and leans the body back. By all rights, the heavily pregnant woman should tip over, toppling to the ground with all the grace of a wavering bowling pin. But evolution has made sure that she doesn’t.  It’s provided her with a lower spine that is more flexible and stronger than a man’s. It stretches the lumbar over three rather than two vertebrae and ensures that she can remain on her feet for nine months of infant gestation (should she want to of course). Essentially, evolution has kept the females of the species upright . . . if only the same could be said for men.

Evolution has instead essentially knocked men off their feet by providing them with an inherent love of risk.  The years in which great feats of physical valor were rewarded with fawning females and reproductive rights have taught males to throw caution to the wind and live on the wild side. In the most extreme cases, it has driven them to take up sports such as bull riding, cave diving and mountain climbing (activities open to both sexes but dominated by the young bucks),  and dive off of buildings, out of planes or from bridges with nothing but a cord preventing death. In the more mild instances, it has pushed the men to weave in and out of traffic on bicycles, run naked into freezing water and drive in a “testosterone-influenced” manner. As a result, men are the more accident-prone gender, dying from such injuries twice as often as women. In fact, unintentional injury is the third leading cause of death among American men and THE leading cause of death among those under age 44.

Lowering the accident rate among males could eliminate 1/3 of the deaths every year. It could save millions of lives. But how can this be done when evolution has trained the modern man to embrace his inner Neanderthal? You can’t simply undo what hundreds of years have done. You can, however, raise consciousness. If men — if you, are slightly more aware of the dangers you are exposing yourself too, you may halt that exposure or, at the very least, take more precautions. You may opt for the less extreme sport – skiing instead of heli skiing. You may live longer or simply not die because of your own stupidity. Either way, it’s a win.

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