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Tag: fighting is in our DNA

Has Punching Shaped the Evolution of the Human Hand?


(via Getty.)

While we all collectively shake our heads and roll our eyes whenever Dana White breaks out the old “fighting is in our DNA” mantra, a new study argues that The Baldfather might not be that far from the truth. Sort of.

David Carrier, a professor of biology and comparative physiologist at the University of Utah, has spent years studying the impacts of fighting on the evolution of the human hand. Back in 2012, he published a report in the Journal of Experimental Biology that attempted to prove his controversial theory that the human hand — which features a shorter palm, shorter fingers and a longer thumb than our primate ancestors — evolved to meet much more than increased dexterity needs.

”If a fist posture does provide a performance advantage for punching, the proportions of our hands also may have evolved in response to selection for fighting ability, in addition to selection for dexterity,” said Carrier.

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Calcio Storico (aka Italian Prison Riot Rugby) Is Probably Not the Next Big Thing in Combat Sports


(Props: dbettazzi)

I don’t exactly know what I’m looking at here. Elias sent me this video today, and the best I can describe it is “Riot breaks out during a shirts vs. skins game of either rugby or capture the flag at a Renaissance Fair held at an Italian prison.”

Watch this video for five minutes and try to figure out the rules of the game. There are at least 50 players on the field at any given time, with players drifting in and out seemingly at random. The referees are the guys in the colorful shirts, I think. The object of the game is to take the ball into the end zone, like a normal sport, but — in a hilariously ghetto twist — there are no end zone markings or goal posts to speak of. You just throw the ball against the fence when you’ve made it all the way without being knocked out.

After some googling, I’ve learned that the video shows a game of calcio storico (“historic football”) or calcio fiorentino, a game that dates back to 16th century Italy. Here are some amazing facts from the wikipedia page:

- “In 1574 Henry III of France attended a game of “bridge fighting” put on in his honor during a visit to Venice; the king is recorded as saying: “Too small to be a real war and too cruel to be a game.” Man, that is just classic Henry III of France.

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