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[Science] Competitive Team Sports May Have Very Ancient Roots: Study


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According to new research published in the journal Human Nature, competitive team games are universal across the world and may have deep roots in humans’ evolutionary past; among hunter-gatherers, these games enable men to hone their physical skills and stamina, assess the commitment of their team members, and see how each performs under pressure.


Play behavior in humans and other animals is thought to have evolved as a way to develop, rehearse, and refine skills that are critical for survival or reproduction.


Chase games, for instance, build stamina and speed, which is helpful for evading predators. Similarly, play fighting is believed to develop skills used in actual fighting. Although play fighting occurs in many species, but only humans are known to do this in teams.


“Our findings suggest that team play fighting is not a recent invention of agricultural societies, said lead author Dr. Michelle Scalise Sugiyama of the University of Oregon and colleagues.


For the study, the team investigated how widespread indigenous forms of coalitional play fighting were among hunter-gatherer societies, and whether these games rehearse motor skills used in lethal raiding.


This type of play involves the use of coordinated action and non-lethal physical force by two opposing teams, each of which attempts to attain a predetermined physical objective, such as scoring a goal, while preventing their opponents from doing the same.


The researchers analyzed the early ethnographic records of societies described as hunter-gatherers in Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas.


Although play, or its absence, was not commonly or extensively documented by early ethnographers, they found information about hunter-gatherer team contact games for 46 of the 100 culture regions in the atlas that contain hunter-gatherer societies.


Activities using sticks to hit objects — and sometimes people — were the most common game type, followed by games involving kicking and games similar to rugby.


The study authors also found many instances of activities involving running, grappling, parrying and throwing. These physical skills mirror those used by hunter-gatherers when raiding other groups.


“Coalitional play fighting may have served as a practice ground for learning how to coordinate striking, blocking, kicking, dodging and projectile-throwing maneuvers amongst coalition members, all in an effort to increase the chances of success and reduce the chances of injury during potentially lethal raids,” Dr. Scalise Sugiyama said.


“Interestingly, mock warfare was found in 39% of culture clusters and boys’ mock warfare in 26%. This suggests that motivation to engage in coalitional play fighting emerges in childhood.”


“The safe confines of a game did not only have physical benefits but provided an opportunity to work as a team.”


“Men learned to anticipate, monitor and strategically respond to the actions of their opponents, and continuously assess situations as both sides tired or lost combatants.”


“Periodic participation in such games during childhood, adolescence, and early to middle adulthood provides individuals with opportunities to viscerally assess the aggressive formidability and commitment of their own and — when played with neighboring groups — other coalitions as their composition and skills change through time.”


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57 minutes ago, Archanus said:

The Study is very important in every field :D !!! 

Yes, even in 0bin's playing field -- old and new.   Elementary, my dear Watson!  ?

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35 minutes ago, tao said:

Yes, even in 0bin's playing field -- old and new.   Elementary, my dear Watson!  ?


Why do you mention 0bin?? jajaja I don't know any of him/her a lot of months ago :S 

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