• Question: can We recreate the sporting abilities of animals to help us improve our sports

    Asked by limey5298 to Helen, Jenni, Mark, Martin, Stu on 24 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Helen O'Connor

      Helen O'Connor answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      I don’t know if we could recreate animals’ sporting abilities because our body shapes are so different and have evolved to do different things. Even the closest animal to humans, primates, have quite different body types and composition to us.

    • Photo: Mark Burnley

      Mark Burnley answered on 24 Jun 2011:

      Helen is right, and mechanically there is very little we can do. Physiologically, however, we are more similar than you might think. For this reason, free-divers take advantage of the dive reflex that all mammals have, and improve their dive limits (depth and time) by becoming more and more like diving mammals through training. There are rather few examples of a direct use of animal physiology in sport though, beyond normal muscle function, which is common to all mammals and birds.