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back to article Throwing arms let humans rise above poo-flinging apes to play CRICKET

The unique human ability to hurl objects such as cricket balls fast and accurately is what lifted us above our early rivals for world dominance, according to new research. "There were essentially two questions we asked – one of them was why are humans so uniquely good at throwing, while all other creatures including our …

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In memory of Eadon

Who says monkeys can't throw? Look at BALLMER and his chair!

MICROSOFT EPIC FAIL!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In memory of Eadon

What's happened to him? I've not seen any of his rants for a few days. Did I miss something?

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Re: In memory of Eadon

yes you did, actually. Eadon was zapped by Vulture Central for his umpteeth effort at poo-flinging.

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Pint

Re: In memory of Eadon

I missed that as well. What did he do this time?

For a while I looked on him as a bit of comic relief to enliven the daily grind but TBH he was getting a bit predictable.

Beer 'cos I'm just about to pour one

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Trollface

Re: In memory of Eadon

"I missed that as well. What did he do this time?"

Maybe nothing. For all we know, his parents might have taken him to Butlins for the week.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In memory of Eadon

It happened here <http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/06/23/windows_server_2003_reasons_to_upgrade_analysis/>. Drewc nuked him.

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Re: In memory of Eadon

Huh. Seems my wish of a "hide Eadon button" from a few days ago was granted. Permanently. So there is a deity after all. Or at least an editor or two.

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Cricket vs Baseball

Run up vs standing throw - surely that has some effect?

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Coat

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Our rebel colonial cousins have, interestingly, taken two traditional British girlie games - netball and rounders - and have turned them into a national religion, having renamed them as (respectively) basketball and baseball...

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FAIL

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Along with rugby, which they play hidden inside protective suits!

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

If you were paying someone $8M to play 16-20 games per year, wouldn't you want them in a protective suit also?

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Happy

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Netball came from basketball, not the other way round, and was specifically modified for women.

Baseball and rounders have a common origin, rather than having an ancestor-descendant relationship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_netball

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball#Origins_of_baseball

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Happy

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

I've actually never felt any animosity towards either sport. I like both of them, and I'm an American. Each has its intricacies and I fault neither sport for them, and they've both gradually evolved to keep with the times. Whether it's a thrilling nine-inning pitcher's duel or an exciting T20 showdown that comes down to the last ball, if it's your game, you'll enjoy the day. I say pick one, sit back and revel in the marvel of top-class players in action.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

I much prefer Cricket.

The sound of willow hitting your opponent's head is so much more satisfying than the dull thud when using a baseball bat...

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

According to that fount of all knowledge accurate and othewise; the national sport of Wales is, er, baseball.

Though Welsh Baseball does look rather primitive and in true Welsh tradition the league appears to be mostly played in England. And, no, living here in the Welsh Welsh heartlands of the Llŷn I, and no-one else, have ever seen it.

But it's in Wikipedia, so it must be true. But that doesn't stop me telling any passing Merkin that the Welsh invented the game.

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WTF?

Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Actually a bent elbow _does_ allow you to impart more speed, that is why it is illegal in cricket!

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Our rebel colonial cousins have, interestingly, taken two traditional British girlie games - netball and rounders - and have turned them into a national religion, having renamed them as (respectively) basketball and baseball...

True dat, but it ain't "girlie" no more, pal. (;^>

Btw, re: Nolan Ryan vs. the famous cricketer... that's got me wondering if the cricket bowler's run-up or the baseball pitcher's wind-up puts more kinetic energy behind the ball. Neither athlete is going from an upright standing start, though I suspect the cricketer would have the advantage as he's allowed to run up to bowl, whereas the baseball pitcher is required to keep on foot on the rubber plate atop the mound.

I've also wondered if the Science mag studied all styles of baseball pitchers, or just straight overhand throwers. Many of the best pitchers in the game are side-armers.

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Y'know, to be honest, I always had more admiration for rugby players than American rules "football" players. The American rules players are much bigger and stronger, but they also play in heavy pads and helmets, whereas the rugby guys are pretty much playing naked, not a pad or helmet among 'em. I gotta give 'em grudging admiration for that. Mind you, I think they're out of their goddamn' minds, but I admire 'em.

I used to follow American rules (NFL) religiously, but some years ago, on an early visit to Mexico, I got to watch some football ("soccer" to us Yanks) and really got into it. The game had a kind of grace and flow to it that I really enjoyed. American rules bored me after that. Same with rugby.

American rules football, otoh, is like gladiatorial combat -- really slow, boring gladiatorial combat. The QB calls off the signals, they all crash into each other, the ref blows the whistle, the guys all get up and stand around for five minutes, then repeat. Sometimes the QB throws the ball to a guy downfield and misses. Once in a while, the ball is actually kicked, with the feet.

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

I much prefer Cricket.

The sound of willow hitting your opponent's head is so much more satisfying than the dull thud when using a baseball bat...

...especially with those damned aluminum bats the American college teams are using now.

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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Many Americans would feel the other way, preferring the sharp "crack" of a solid hit with a Louisville Slugger or other ash baseball bat vs. the relatively tame "thump" of willow on a cricket ball. I've personally listened to many home run hits vs. hits for six and feel the same way, though I suspect it's more a matter of what you grew up hearing.

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Coffee/keyboard

Thanks - it's always refreshing to see such a well researched and referenced article!

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Headmaster

And I thought that throwing resulted in a no ball. So bowlers have had to change this natural throwing ability.

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"And I thought that throwing resulted in a no ball. "

Now, yes. It was legit about a hundred years ago, though.

But then; so was aiming a ball at the batsman's face.

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underarm bowling legit in 1981

<= mine's the one with six stones in the pocket

You've forgotten the infamous Chappell incident

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oiYV73lYhg

The game was the third of a five-match series final, and each team had won one game. New Zealand still had six runs to tie and two wickets in hand when the final ball came to be bowled. To prevent Brian McKechnie, the New Zealand batsman, hitting a six, Greg Chappell told his brother Trevor to bowl the ball underarm.

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Go

The Elbow Angle..

Indeed, bending your elbow, angling it, which is what the whole article focus's on is not just illegal in modern cricket but will get you labelled a 'chucker' the worst of worst cricketing insults. It will cause a diplomatic incident with country whose bowler is alleged to have done this, referral to the authorises to examine the bowler's bowling action and then result in the chap having to have training to remedy his 'action' or medical tests to prove that he's (possibly she, but I've yet to hear of a lady 'chucker') double jointed.

Oh cricket vs baseball, the cricket ball, being made of cork wrapped in leather really really hurts if it hits you, one floored me for a good ten minutes one when it hit me in the ...

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Happy

Re: underarm bowling legit in 1981

Not sure whether it's an urban myth, but I was taught that bowling used to always be underarm. Then women wanted to play, and big skirts like as not with a mass of hoops and/or petticoats were seriously in the way so overarm bowling was invented to overcome that.

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Trollface

Re: The Elbow Angle..

Oh cricket vs baseball, the cricket ball, being made of cork wrapped in leather really really hurts if it hits you, one floored me for a good ten minutes one when it hit me in the ...

Well, that's the cricket half of the comparison .. We need to get you on a field with a baseball and professional pitcher to test the baseball half...

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Re: The Elbow Angle..

Cricket balls ARE rather denser than baseballs due to their compositions. But being hit by either one at speed is going to hurt, PARTICULARLY if the hit comes off their respective bats (players HAVE tragically suffered fatal injuries in both sports as a result of being hit directly by driven balls). As for baseball, many a player have noted that getting literally beaned (hit in the helmet by a pitch) can easily feel as if you've had your bell rung. Hits to the back or legs aren't too pretty, either. No wonder some batters don't take kindly to getting hit, especially if it's not the first time the pitcher's done it in the game. But in the end, that's why there are rules focusing on the safety of the players holding the bats. If things go wrong, we can re-evaluate, but for now let's play as well as safety permits us.

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Re: The Elbow Angle..

@Charles 9

IIRC the cricket dismissal method of "hit ball twice" is a player safety one - whereby in days of yore batsmen could hit the ball again as a catcher was about to catch, leading to one or two fatalities from the bat.

Interesting how a US term for a headbound delivery is a beaner, and the cricket equivalent would be a beamer (non bouncing ball above waist height, not a legal delivery). In cricket it's bad because as a batsman you expect the ball to hit the ground at some point, and it's easy to lose the ball's path if it comes directly at you, increasing the chances of a hit to the chest or head. Ouch. It's not seen to often, and every time I have seen it happen it's an accident, with the bowler immediately apologising. Mind you, doing it deliberately could get you banned.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Elbow Angle..

"what the whole article focus's on"

Unable to parse

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"But then; so was aiming a ball at the batsman's face."

I assume you mean aiming for the face with a full toss. It's still considered OK to do it with a bouncer. That's why cricket's adopted the term "chin music" from the Americans for such deliveries (in both sports, chin music is usually strategic: meant to unnerve the batter/batsman and force him out of his comfort zone).

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Pirate

Nah...

For real speed you need a javelin throwing action, with a run-up and sudden stop, when the back, hip and shoulder turn are released through the whipping action of the arm. Pitchers don't have a run up, and lose a lot of this focussing of the energy of the big muscles in the body.

When I was younger and stick-like I could through stones / balls / snowballs prodigious distances - over 100 yards, but only when the projectiles were the "right" weight. Too heavy, and my shoulder and arm couldn't cope when doing the "whip" thing, and the results were sore, and pretty feeble.

ps A cricket ball weighs 20% as much as a javelin, for kinetic energy comparison purposes.

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Re: Nah...

Do the javelin chaps and chapesses throw with a straight or bent arm? Always looks pretty straight to me, like what a fast bowler would do. Particularly Jeff Thompson (who I believe started with the Javelin before migrating to cricket) or that chap from Sri Lanka who's name escapes me. Personally, the best quick I've ever seen was Malcolm Marshall. Under 6 foot, but still lethally fast, accurate, skillful and cunning. I appear to have wandered a bit, apologies to readers from the non crikosphere nations.

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Re: Nah...

It seems it is a taught skill, or non-skill. I wasn't told that I shouldn't hold my breath when I sprint until I was embarrassingly old, but my dad did teach me to throw a ball -- and every PE teacher thought I was a natural athlete (despite the holding-breath). Girls are also discouraged from the hours of practice it takes to be good at throwing (boys can throw balls back and forth, or against a wall, for hours, and it's a boy-thing, but girls are told to stop wasting their time -- yes, a massive generalisation, but check out how often a boy is left to frolic or mess about compared to his sister on any family outing.)

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Re: Nah...

"Pitchers don't have a run up, and lose a lot of this focussing of the energy of the big muscles in the body."

Perhaps, but the natural motion of a big-league pitch means the torso twists in the wind-up. Also, you lift the forward leg into the air for additional potential energy. It's like throwing a punch. You use the rest of your body like a coiled spring and then unleash them in sequence to continually build up speed and power for the final release. Stomp the foot, untwist the torso, whip the arm at the shoulder and then the elbow, flick the wrist, THEN let go. Being able to combine all these momentum-bulding motions and not move your back foot (meaning you're essentially throwing from a standstill) demonstrates that the big-league fastball has considerable science and experience behind it, and cricket with its studies of grips, deliveries, seam actions, etc. is no different in that regard.

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Re: Nah...

All of the above movements does seem to imply a superiority from our whole bodies physiology. Thinking of throwing and martial arts moves powers really delivered from us being able to get all the muscles to work in a co-ordination with each other, whether its a whipping action or coming of the back foot I've seen lightly built people deliver real powerful kicks and punches in comparison with weightlifting types who don't train on getting that synergy.

Wasn't there also some research that said that human muscle strength is inhibited to give us better muscular control? Which I would think makes all the difference on fine control for a throw, or snapping out a punch with the hand eye co-ordination to hit where you intend on the target.

Chimps wouldn't seem to have the hips to use some of the kinetic actions we use, or the fine muscle control to hit a target with an accurate punch. Admittedly a chimps more likely to just run at you screaming and bite you with its canines or tear your arm off and hit you with it, so having the brains to think a pointy stick and tactics would be handy has got to be some help as well.

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Pint

Re: Nah...

Best Fast Bowler...

That privilege goes to Glen McGrath. That dude was so excellent in his deliveries. I would believe it if someone told me he had a 100% strike rate of hitting a coin from 22 yards off, running in full steam, another 20-22 yards.

Albeit, after watching the movie "Fire in Babylon", I long to see the fearsome foursome of the West Indies pace attack again, in some shape or form. Alas, the game has been ruined by T20 (and to a large extent, one-day cricket).

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Pint

Re: Nah...

Many years ago, my father christened our neighbour's corgi "Larwood" .... because he had 4 short legs and his balls could swing either way.

Sure, Glenn was a gret fast bowler ... but will his name still resonate 80 years on?

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Coat

Pah...

...it's all a load of balls anyhow...

...ok, ok, I'll get me coat ;-)

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Throwing actions

OK, I know I'm going to get accused of sexism here, but if you watch boys and girls throwing you'll tend to see that in the large majority of cases they have a very different action. Boys from a very young age tend to use their wrists in a whipping action where as this, in my experience, seems to be comparatively rarer in girls.

It would be interesting to know whether there is reason why this is the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Throwing actions

you forgot to add that girls can't run properly either

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Re: Throwing actions

The boys' wristy whipping action has other uses than just for throwing things, you know...

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Happy

Re: Throwing actions

Yes, but they learn the whipping action before they learn what its really for.

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Stop

Re: Throwing actions

There was a recent Mythbusters which looked at this and found negligible differences between young boys and girls when it came to throwing ... the differences set in after puberty.

If you want to assess two subjects and remove any learned bias, get them to throw with their other arm - as soon as you do that girls and boys throw pretty much equally.

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Re: Throwing actions

Bad form to reply to ones self, but the same episode also showed that:

1) Men are just as likely to ask directions as women (although the subjects were tested *alone*)

and

2) Men are no better at parallel parking than women.

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Now if we could just get those boffins to explain how Shane Warne was able to bowl a finger slip flipper we would all be even wiser.

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Interesting how the merkin guys also like to play netball and

have to wear helmets and padding for a game of football.

However the true culmination of millions of years of evolution is clearly the

moder darts player.

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Gridiron started adopting armor when tackles became more full-on body collisions and there are increased collisions to the head (so the bigger helmet was brought in to reduce the risk of concussions. In Rugby, Australian Footy, and similar disciplines, tackles above the shoulders aren't allowed, and the general preference in a tackle is not to collide but to grab bodily and wrestle down. This isn't as hard on either player involved so they don't need the additional protection.

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Ahem

First, speaking of Lynn Nolan Ryan is a bit like speaking of Lloyd George as David George.

Second, modern-day pitchers, particularly "closers", regularly clock in over 100 mph.

Third, aren't bowlers throwing with a sharper downward trajectory?

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