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What Is The Fastest Articulated Motion A Human Can Execute?

Humans are amazing throwers. We are unique among all animals, including our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, in our ability to throw projectiles at high speeds and with incredible accuracy. This trait was critical to the survival and success of our ancestors, aiding their hunting and protective skills, according to National Science Foundation-funded research featured on the cover of this week's journal Nature. Harvard University researchers supported by NSF's Biological Anthropology Program discovered that humans are able to throw projectiles at incredible speeds by storing and releasing energy in the tendons and ligaments crossing the shoulder. This energy is used to catapult the arm forward, creating the fastest motion the human body can produce and resulting in very rapid throws.

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