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  #1  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:04 PM
Akuma Kage Akuma Kage is offline
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Fact or Fiction: The Extra Leg Muscle in African Americans

For the past few years, I've been hearing rumors about black people having an extra muscle in their leg. Of course, I am having a really hard time believing this, but in my disbelief and search for evidence to disprove this rumor, I am finding almost nothing giving information on the verification or falsification of this statement. I have read articles online from people saying that it's ridiculous that some people say that when they have no idea where people heard it from. Then again, I've heard an African American say "It's true". My girlfriend even told me her ex-boyfriend (who is black) had said that it was true and he even gave the name for it (but she couldn't remember the name of it). Again, I am still in disbelief. Did some racist or jealous athlete coin this idea one day to justify the presence of so many black athletes in the world today (i.e., basketball, sprinting), or did some anatomical experiment uncover this little tid-bit of knowledge and never publicize its discovery? If anyone with some credentials or a valid source of information can provide ANY imput, I would greatly appreciate it.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:07 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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Fiction.

I'll give you a cite as soon as I find one proving that white men don't have two brains.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:10 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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It isn't true. While there are arguably some minor physiological and morphological differences between races, something as major as an additional pair of muscles would have required major evolutionary changes. Or, perhaps more accurately, a loss of a pair of muscles, since all humans evolved from a common ancestor who would have had this purported muscle pair.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:11 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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Oh, welcome to the boards, by the way.
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:12 PM
BrianS BrianS is offline
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That's called the phallis frontalis major, my friend.
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:14 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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It is in fact very slighty kind of true. Some people have an extra muscle in their legs. It's not a major muscle and it (obviously) doesn't do anything important. It also isn't in any way restricted to blacks nor do all balcks have the extra muscle. It just happens that more black people have extra muscle than white people. So saying black people have an extra muscle is kind of like saying that black people have lactose intolerance. It's not retricted to blacks and it's not found in all blacks.
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:25 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blake
It is in fact very slighty kind of true. Some people have an extra muscle in their legs. It's not a major muscle and it (obviously) doesn't do anything important. It also isn't in any way restricted to blacks nor do all balcks have the extra muscle. It just happens that more black people have extra muscle than white people. So saying black people have an extra muscle is kind of like saying that black people have lactose intolerance. It's not retricted to blacks and it's not found in all blacks.
Cite, please? What is the name of this supposed muscle? What studies verified that blacks possess it more frequently?
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:27 PM
lucwarm lucwarm is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blake
It is in fact very slighty kind of true. Some people have an extra muscle in their legs. It's not a major muscle and it (obviously) doesn't do anything important. It also isn't in any way restricted to blacks nor do all balcks have the extra muscle. It just happens that more black people have extra muscle than white people. So saying black people have an extra muscle is kind of like saying that black people have lactose intolerance. It's not retricted to blacks and it's not found in all blacks.
Do you happen to know the name of this muscle? Intuitively, it seems to me that the vast vast majority of people should have the same number of muscles, bones, etc. (Although I know that it happens in rare cases that someone is born with an extra finger/toe/whatever or missing something)

Perhaps the muscles themselves are a little different, on average, from race to race -- bigger or smaller; stronger or weaker; speed oriented or endurance oriented; etc. But a whole new muscle? I'm skeptical.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:33 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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I'm looking for a reputable cite. It's one of those odd muscles that doesn't actually do anything now that we walk upright since its function has since been assumed by another group. There are a few of those in the body, and not everyone has te same muscle count for that reason. Occasionally these odd little things vanish and no on is any the worse off. There's another muscle in the jaw that in other animals help pivot the ears that is also fairly varaible in its presence, but I've never heard of it being racially linked.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:33 PM
Akuma Kage Akuma Kage is offline
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Okay then. So with a combination of the replies so far, would it be safe to say that:

There is an extra pair of muscles, one in each leg, of African Americans, yet they do not contribute to such a significant difference of athletic performance and ability on the average of African American athletes vs. Caucasian athletes?
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:38 PM
Akuma Kage Akuma Kage is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eonwe
Oh, welcome to the boards, by the way.
Yeah, thanks for the warm smartass welcome...
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:39 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Quote:
would it be safe to say that:

There is an extra pair of muscles, one in each leg, of African Americans..
No it wouldn't. No more than it would be safe to say that every African American has sickle cell anaemia. It's a condition that is more prevalent in blacks but that is far form from universal amongst blacks and that is also found in whites albeit at lower levels.
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  #13  
Old 09-17-2003, 06:43 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akuma Kage
Okay then. So with a combination of the replies so far, would it be safe to say that:

There is an extra pair of muscles, one in each leg, of African Americans, yet they do not contribute to such a significant difference of athletic performance and ability on the average of African American athletes vs. Caucasian athletes?
No, it's not safe to say that. Only one person, Blake has alleged that it might have some basis in fact. Unless he (or someone else) can come up some actual documentation, it's best to consider this bogus.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:54 PM
Akuma Kage Akuma Kage is offline
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Okay then, I guess I'll just continue to disbelieve this rumor, as it is just a rumor...by the way, BrianS, why is it that the phallis frontalis major doesn't exist in any anatomical dictionary I have?

However, I am really no further from the lie and closer to the truth than I was before. At least now I have the knowledge that there are those out there who disagree with this rumor and find it a general misconception just as I do. The only problem is that no one has sliced open ten caucasian legs and ten african american legs and found five times out of five, those african americans have muscles the caucasians don't...which maybe isn't such a bad thing afterall...
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:56 PM
ultrafilter ultrafilter is offline
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I don't know of a leg muscle, but as this page mentions, the palmaris longus (one of the muscles in the forearm) is missing on one or both sides in about 20% of the population.
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  #16  
Old 09-17-2003, 07:01 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akuma Kage
...by the way, BrianS, why is it that the phallis frontalis major doesn't exist in any anatomical dictionary I have?
You've been whooshed. Look up "phallus" (the correct spelling), then think about the old joke about African men having something larger than white men.
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Old 09-17-2003, 07:44 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akuma Kage
However, I am really no further from the lie and closer to the truth than I was before. At least now I have the knowledge that there are those out there who disagree with this rumor and find it a general misconception just as I do. The only problem is that no one has sliced open ten caucasian legs and ten african american legs and found five times out of five, those african americans have muscles the caucasians don't...which maybe isn't such a bad thing afterall...
Y'know, it's really up to those who are making the claim to back it up. You don't have to disprove it - those who believe it have to produce the evidence. The next time someone tells you this, ask them to put up or shut up.

We have actually discussed this before, and no one then came up with any evidence for the supposed muscle either:

Please help me dispel this racist myth

And regarding the warmth of your welcome, you are most fortunate that Collounsbury is no longer around, as he would have given you a toasty one indeed.
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  #18  
Old 09-17-2003, 09:16 PM
edwino edwino is offline
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There is the plantaris, which is pretty small but I have no idea if it is absent in some people. It is quite vestigial, though.

edwino, who has no palmaris longus.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:24 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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OK, how about this: My wife is a foot surgeon. In medical school and since she has dissected multiple lower limbs, of a number of races, ethnicities, genders, etc. IOW, she has performed your test. Nothing. Some people have various anatomical variations in nerves, blood vessels, muscular structure and accessory bones. No "extra" leg muscles for different groups. (Obviously, there are great variations in the size and strength of various muscles groups between individuals. That's not the claim however.)

Not good enough? Ok, it is anecdotal evidence, after all. How about Gray's Anatomy? Looking though the chapters on the muscles and fascia of the leg and thigh, I see references to variations in the relationship of certain muscles, in structure and organization...

Wait, wait, here's something:
Quote:
The Gamelli are two small muscular fasciculi [little muscles], accessories to the tendon of the obturator internus...The Gamellus superior, the smaller of the two...is sometimes wanting.
And:
Quote:
The Peroneus tertius is a part of the Extensor digitorum longus [muscle that extends the little toes, and might be described as its fifth tendon...This muscle is sometimes wanting
OK, so we have two little muscles that don't do anything much and are occasionally missing as part of normal human variation. No extra muscles.

But can even this variation save the OP? No. There is no research indexed in peer-reviewed medical journals that supports the idea that the absence of these muscles is racially dimorphic.

I can't prove that there is no such thing as an extra "black leg muscle", but I think this does suggest that there isn't any evidence for it. To echo Colibri, this is an assertion where the burden of proof is on the one who presents it.
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  #20  
Old 09-17-2003, 09:59 PM
JaxBeachBoy JaxBeachBoy is offline
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I've always thought this rumor probably started as a "sour grapes" type thing by some unathletic white guys...you know..."we can't jump as well as they can because they have an extra muscle" or some nonsense....

I was playing basketball at a local park one time in HS, and talking with some black friends of mine...I've always been a good jumper (for a white guy, as they would say), and one time I asked them why they thought that, as a rule, black people are better leapers than white people...one of them said ,"well how did you get here today?"

me-"i drove that car"
him-"see that bicycle? thats how i got here. When you were a kid, how did you get across town for baseball practice?"
me-"mom gave me a ride"
him-"I rode my bike there too...everywhere I've gone, my whole life, I've walked or rode a bike, you have ridden or driven a car...and you wonder why I am a better jumper than you?"
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  #21  
Old 09-17-2003, 10:30 PM
daniel801 daniel801 is offline
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Re: your sig. Are you [i]time[/]? Nice wound/wound.
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  #22  
Old 09-17-2003, 11:01 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akuma Kage
There is an extra pair of muscles, one in each leg
Actually, this seems rather unlikely to me. Don't most muscles come in pairs, sort of opposing each other (one muscle to move your foot forward, another one to pull it backward)?

So the idea of a "one in each leg" just seems a bit odd to me. What happens to it after this "extra" muscle contracts? Makes this sound even more like some kind of a racist urban legend.
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  #23  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:26 AM
mcbiggins mcbiggins is offline
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I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get a cite from my friend in track who told me this, but...

He claims that the great sprinters of the modern era, be they Americans, Britons, Canadians, or Jamaicans of African decent, are all decended from the same area in West Africa. And, for whatever reason, the people in this area have the ultimate genetic make-up for sprinting. The reason that people who still live in that region aren't tearing up the track is that the countries in that area tend to be impoverished and war-torn.

Africans on the whole make up many highly divergent ethnics groups so saying all the peoples of sub-saharan African decent have atribute x is going to turn out wrong. But by breaking it down to small localized ethnic groups, you can find signifigant variations. But, as far as I know, no extra muscles.



p.s. It's a big pet peeve of mine, so I've got to say something: "African American" is a very specific term used for Americans of African decent. Please don't use it as a catchall replacement term for "black people" when you mean "people of African decent." Once the Atlanta Journal ran an ad about a circus with "african-american preformers from around the world." Wow, I didn't realize so many ex-pats went into the circus.
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  #24  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:57 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
He claims that the great sprinters of the modern era, be they Americans, Britons, Canadians, or Jamaicans of African decent, are all decended from the same area in West Africa. And, for whatever reason, the people in this area have the ultimate genetic make-up for sprinting.
As far as marathons go, they seem to be absolutely dominated by Kenyans. I'd really have to see an in-depth study as far as the descent thing. Anybody know where Michael Johnson, Donovan Bailey, and Carl Lewis's ancestors were from, for a start?
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  #25  
Old 09-18-2003, 02:02 AM
quicken78 quicken78 is offline
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There seems to be a certain amount of repressed racial tension in this thread.

Akuma , I don't think that it is a 'racist or jealous' athlete who coined this. Perhaps it is just somebody trying to figure out this question: 'How come black people run faster over short distances than white people'? In general, this is fairly evident when looking at the final 100m Olympics. Obviously, this doesn't mean that ALL black people run faster than ALL white people, just that the normal distribution (Bell) curve is shifted for the different racial categories.

In reality, the question is as inane as asking 'Why do Chinese people have slitty eyes?' or 'Why do Indians have black hair'?
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Old 09-18-2003, 02:08 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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'How come black people run faster over short distances than white people'?
Or long distances. But I do agree with quicken, asking the question isn't racist. I think the extra muscle thing is bunk so far, but I'm not sure it makes sense to look at the way Africans and people of African descent seem to dominate these events and then chalk it up to coincidence.
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  #27  
Old 09-18-2003, 03:16 AM
Blake Blake is offline
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There is no research indexed in peer-reviewed medical journals that supports the idea that the absence of these muscles is racially dimorphic.
Now that just aint true. For a board dedicated to fighting inorance it's a bit worrying that people throw around these sorts of statements with no evidence.

http://www.aldur.net/neuroanatomy/2003/013_015.pdf.
Quote:
Testut andLatarjet [7] found the absence of the gemellus superior muscle in 8% of whites and 6% of blacks..."
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  #28  
Old 09-18-2003, 03:26 AM
Mycroft Holmes Mycroft Holmes is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mcbiggins
He claims that the great sprinters of the modern era, be they Americans, Britons, Canadians, or Jamaicans of African decent, are all decended from the same area in West Africa. And, for whatever reason, the people in this area have the ultimate genetic make-up for sprinting. The reason that people who still live in that region aren't tearing up the track is that the countries in that area tend to be impoverished and war-torn.[/SIZE]
I also remember reading a very contreversial article in "Sports Illustrated" that mentioned that West African natives have a higher percentage of "fast-twitch" musculature than most other ethnicities. The article also mentioned that the high mountainous areas of Nigeria were perfect for long-distance runners and the natives of this area had a much lower percentage of "fast-twitch" musculature but had great stamina and a very high red blood cell count due to the high altitude and the fact that most of them ran several miles to and from their schools and workplaces. As I mentioned, this article was controversial to say the least, but it seemed very well researched and thought out to me at the time.

Hey, guess what. I just found a link to the article which was also published in "Scientific American" and was written by Jon Entine here .
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  #29  
Old 09-18-2003, 04:54 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Argh. I hate it when you type a post, hit reply and a post just... disappears!!

The Extra Leg Muscle In African-Americans Myth is bull, unless we're talking about Ben Johnson's pumped up enhancers.

Here's my take. It's mostly socioeconomic factors, not physiological ones, that account for black strengths in sports. Most black athletes who grew up in poverty thrive in sports that feature modest equipment investment, high social/cultural approval, and fame and wealth in professional ranks.

That's why young urban black athletes who are strong in sports keep gravitatating to the same five: basketball, football, baseball, track & field and increasingly tennis. The fundamentals can be learned at a very young age, thousands of hours can be logged playing and practicing with your peers in the streets, and the rewards for top talent can be scouted and developed from middle school on. You just don't get the same community support or interest if you're black and happen to be good at ice hockey. (Like me growing up in Michigan.)

If there was big money and cultural approval in professional bowling, blacks would dominate that, too.

Note: World champion marathoners Gezahenge Abera of Ethiopia and Catherine Nderebaof Kenya are East Africans, so the altitude advantages aren't just in Nigeria and other West African nations.
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Old 09-18-2003, 04:59 AM
Mycroft Holmes Mycroft Holmes is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Askia
Note: World champion marathoners Gezahenge Abera of Ethiopia and Catherine Nderebaof Kenya are East Africans, so the altitude advantages aren't just in Nigeria and other West African nations.
Oops. My mistake was confusing Kenya and Nigeria (now don't ask me how I can confuse two countries on opposite sides of the continent. I think I need more coffee). The article I remember actually mentioned Kenya being the breeding ground for long distance runners. There was a time when the Kenyans were completely dominating most events longer than 5000 meters.
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  #31  
Old 09-18-2003, 04:59 AM
lucwarm lucwarm is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Marley23
But I do agree with quicken, asking the question isn't racist. I think the extra muscle thing is bunk so far, but I'm not sure it makes sense to look at the way Africans and people of African descent seem to dominate these events and then chalk it up to coincidence.
Agree. And I would go so far as to say that it seems reasonably clear that some subset of black folks likely has, on average, a genetic advantage in sprinting.
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Old 09-18-2003, 05:01 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Mycroft. That's cool. I checked a map myself before I posted. I would also like to add "soccer" to my list of low-cost entry sports -- I did in my original post.
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  #33  
Old 09-18-2003, 05:08 AM
Askia Askia is offline
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Originally posted by lucwarm
Agree. And I would go so far as to say that it seems reasonably clear that some subset of black folks likely has, on average, a genetic advantage in sprinting.
But it's NOT genetic. You're not just "born" fast, you train over decades to get that way in an environment that encourages top performance. It's likelier environmental causes with strong socioeconomic motives. Like how Strong Man competitions are dominated by Eastern Europeans.
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  #34  
Old 09-18-2003, 05:15 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally posted by mcbiggins He claims that the great sprinters of the modern era, be they Americans, Britons, Canadians, or Jamaicans of African decent, are all decended from the same area in West Africa. And, for whatever reason, the people in this area have the ultimate genetic make-up for sprinting.
Right.

And Ice Hockey records are dominated by white Canadians and Americans from the northern Great Plains area. No doubt people from there have extra muscles in their feet that make the ice skates turn faster.

-------------

Wouldn't be a bit more sensible to expect that the local environment has a lot to do with what sports events people in that area play. And if a lot of people in the area play a sport, you're likely to see a number of super-stars emerge from that area.

Canada has a lot of hockey super-stars because tons of kids up there play hockey.

West Africa may have a lot of super-star runners because a lot of people there run. (Like you say, it's a war-torn & impoverished area -- running can be done by an individual, cheaply, little equipment needed. What other sport can they afford to play? I doubt there are many olympic-sized diving pools, or gymnastics auditoriums, or equestrian stadium jumping courses in the area.)
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  #35  
Old 09-18-2003, 05:30 AM
DougC DougC is offline
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- - - Blacks don't have any extra muscles, but (in the US) the muscles of some blacks are proportioned differently than whites and most other ethnic groups. You notice this a lot in the calves: one of these groups tends to have short, broad calf muscles. The other tends to have longer, narrower calf muscles. One type seems better for one sort of pysical competitions, and the other type seems better at another----just judging from what is commonly the top performers in both types of competitions.
- People around here have a problem with ethnic-group related questions, so please: before you spout ignorant politically-correct responses, please take off your blindfolds and go forth and take a few looks look at different peoples, and see if you can tell which of the two groups I mentioned above is which.
~
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Old 09-18-2003, 06:54 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Well, to throw another rumor out there, the reason I've heard that blacks tend to dominate in sports where a lot of anaerobic activity is required is because they have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscles in their bodies (or perhaps just legs) than whites.
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:06 AM
Mycroft Holmes Mycroft Holmes is offline
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Originally posted by pulykamell
Well, to throw another rumor out there, the reason I've heard that blacks tend to dominate in sports where a lot of anaerobic activity is required is because they have a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscles in their bodies (or perhaps just legs) than whites.
Ahem:

Quote:
Originally posted by Mycroft Holmes
I also remember reading a very contreversial article in "Sports Illustrated" that mentioned that West African natives have a higher percentage of "fast-twitch" musculature than most other ethnicities.
Oh, and "contreversial" is a typo.
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  #38  
Old 09-18-2003, 07:25 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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D'OH!

That's what I get for skimming...
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  #39  
Old 09-18-2003, 08:45 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Just as a reminder, genetically speaking there's no such thing as 'Black'. Certainly very dark skin is genetically inherited, but those with very dark skin aren't a real group, genetically.
Remember, both pygmies and very tall (what, Bantus?) have dark skin. As do many from India.
There's more genetic diversity among dark-skinned people of Africa than among everyone else in the world, so saying "Black' people as a whole have some genetic characteristic is kind of ridiculous.

Some populations may have some genetic variation that makes them more suited to certain athletic events. Sherpas for instance, are IN GENERAL, better suited to high-altitude events than most other groups. But of course, there's no such thing as an ice-hockey gene.

DougC -- People around here are very careful about ethnic related questions because there's a lot of ignorance about them (and fighting ignorance is what we're all about, right?), and because some completely wrong ideas about race were -- and still are -- used to justify doing incredibly horrible things (and minorly horrible things,too), so it's doubly important to get it right.
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  #40  
Old 09-18-2003, 09:11 AM
Cuckoorex Cuckoorex is offline
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A "genetic advantage" for sprinting or "ultimate genetic makeup for sprinting" doesn't have to mean "extra leg muscles". I would daresay that Greyhounds have a distinct sprinting advantage over, say, Bloodhounds even with the exact same number of muscles. Limb proportion, body fat levels, cardiovascular performance, etc., can all add up to a "genetic advantage", and it may simply be that groups that people generally identify as "black" come from a gene pool that tends to have these traits in combination.
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  #41  
Old 09-18-2003, 11:22 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by JaxBeachBoy
I've always thought this rumor probably started as a "sour grapes" type thing by some unathletic white guys...you know..."we can't jump as well as they can because they have an extra muscle" or some nonsense...
After Jesse Owens pulled off the gold in the Olympics, a Nazi bigwig allegedly said that this sort of competition was innately unfair, since it was nothing other than having a man run a race against a gazelle or wrestle a bear.

That being said, there is a very common irrational, bigoted, and racist prejudice that blacks are somehow "innately" better than are whites at athletics. The "evidence" they cite is that there are so many more skilled black atheletes.

Does that mean that we can likewise claim that whites are innately better at being major political leaders, scientists, and successful businessmen than are blacks?
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  #42  
Old 09-18-2003, 11:23 AM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Hey, I heard a rumor out there that whites dominate in the business world and politics because they are have innately more efficient brains than do other races.
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  #43  
Old 09-18-2003, 12:49 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Of course, blacks do NOT make up a disproportionate number of successful athletes. They simply don't. They are overrpresented in some sports - sprinting, football, basketball, a few others. On the other hand, they are underrepresented in many others, such as hockey, tennis, golf, or those Strong Man competitions that are always being won by some guy named "Lars."

Even within sports with the same basic athletic needs you see this difference. Many Olympic sprinters are black, but very few Olympic speed skaters are black. Blacks make up 85% of the NBA, but volleyball, which also requires tall, strong people who can jump really high, is not dominated by blacks.
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  #44  
Old 09-18-2003, 12:56 PM
paperbackwriter paperbackwriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Blake
Now that just aint true. For a board dedicated to fighting inorance it's a bit worrying that people throw around these sorts of statements with no evidence.

http://www.aldur.net/neuroanatomy/2003/013_015.pdf.

I did not "throw around" any sort of statement without evidence. I researched my post for an hour before posting. Look at the post again. You will see the following sources of evidence: expert opinion of a qualified expert, standard reference works, and a literature search in standard sources.

Maybe that last point wasn't clear, but it is included the phrase "There is no research indexed in peer-reviewed medical journals". I looked not only though Medline, but also through the paper Science Citation Index for racial variations on the gamellus and peroneus. I did not get any hits in either index, which justifies my statement. I am quite willing to concede that I am not infallible and may have missed something; if you find such a reference, I withdraw that point.

WRT your cite, the link is broken so I can't follow it. I did find Goggle's cache of it, however. No doubt this is how you found the referring item. The reference itself seems to be to a 1948 French anatomy text. Without this reference, we can't determine if a 2% delta is statistically significant. Unless you were to get the actual reference and were prepared to discuss it, this one Google-derived quote is not significant.

No matter, its significance does not change my statement. Googling a phrase is not conducting a medical literature search. A 55-year old anatomy text is not a peer-reviewed medical journal. In fact, such texts are rarely subjected to the same review process that journal articles are. I stand by my contribution to the fight.
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Old 09-18-2003, 01:21 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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I believe that it is a metter of genetic variation.

I'm going to have to Google for the article that I read but it postulated that Africans have a greater variation of genetic components than other areas. In other words, the average speed of sprinters from all over the globe might be the same, but Africans will win the race because thier bell curve is more broadly distributed. Africans might also have the slowest poeple in the race from that same distribution.

That being said, culture and training are nearly overwhelming contributions.
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Old 09-18-2003, 01:22 PM
JaxBeachBoy JaxBeachBoy is offline
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Re: the genetic pre-disposition to fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch...

some studies have shown that in some cases, extreme training can develop fast twitch fibers later in life(not known whether the subjects are converting slow-twitch, or just increasing the number of the other)...

I studied kinesiology/fitness therapy in college, but I had planned(if I attended grad school) to try to start a study on whether or not muscle fiber type could be more easily changed at younger ages...which would explain why an impoverished youngster who runs and rides a bike everywhere develops more fast twitch fibers while someone who is less active may develop more slow twitch....I am just very much strongly against the idea that a certain race is genetically better than another at certain sports...

If you are going to say that blacks are genetically better jumpers or sprinters, then there should be NO white athletes who are leapers, or good sprinters, and this is clearly not true.
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  #47  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:26 PM
mcbiggins mcbiggins is offline
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Argh! I tried to steer this thread away from the agrument that "black people are good at sports" because a) "black people" is an artificial distinction based merely on skin colour having little to do with actual regional ethnicity (i think quercus said it best) and b) sports is a very broad distinction that expertice has as much to do with the childhood environment as it does genetic makeup.

I am going to have to disagree, to an extent, with t-bonham and askia. Certain ethnic groups have certain minor physiological differences. it's absurd to think that hair might be different, or eye shape, or skin tone, but once you go inside everything is exactly the same for everybody. Close, but not exact. And some of it is inherited. For example, the people living in the Andes and the people living in the Himalayas both have very diffferent physiological ways of adapting to with the high altitude in which they live. Because of this, we have to assume this isn't a childhhod response to growing up in high altitudes, and there is a genetic factor involved. In the same way, it appears that West Africans have the best make-up for sprinting. the main reason I'm disagreeing with the contention that "black people" are better athletes due to their socio-economic background is that its been my understanding that while african-americans then to be poorer, if you go by the numbers there as many if not more poor white people in the U.S. than black. So for the sports listed as cheap and easy for the impoverished to get into, there should be as many whites as blacks. And at the grassroots level, I'm sure there are. And I agree that every ethnic group has signifigant gentic variation within it. The average black person, average white person and average purple person are all probably the same speed. But saying that my hypothesis means no whites are good athletes is ignoring the nature of sport. We're not dealing with averages, we're dealing with extremes.
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  #48  
Old 09-18-2003, 01:37 PM
Dogface Dogface is offline
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Okay, let's deal with extremes. Let's deal with extremes in educational, political, and business success. Now, I'm not saying that no blacks are good in school, in governing countries, or in running major business concerns, but I'm not dealing with averages, I'm dealing with extremes, and the extremes say that whites *MUST* have some sort of "genetic edge" in these and the majority of other intellectual pursuits, since they have and still maintain world dominance.

Go look up "Argument from necessity" under "fallacy".
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Old 09-18-2003, 02:24 PM
lucwarm lucwarm is offline
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As always, this subject is turning into a debate. On the assumption that the thread will be moved to GD, I'll respond.

Quote:
Originally posted by Askia
But it's NOT genetic. You're not just "born" fast, you train over decades to get that way in an environment that encourages top performance.
Are you saying that the fact that environmental factors have an impact on success at sprinting gives rise to an inference that genetic factors have no impact?

Quote:
It's likelier environmental causes with strong socioeconomic motives. Like how Strong Man competitions are dominated by Eastern Europeans.
Ok, so is it your position that observed racial disparities in sprinting results are purely the result of cultural/social/socio-economic differences?
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  #50  
Old 09-18-2003, 03:36 PM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Askia
Argh. I hate it when you type a post, hit reply and a post just... disappears!!
If there was big money and cultural approval in professional bowling, blacks would dominate that, too.

I kind of doubt that. Sports that don`t require lots of physical ability aren`t dominated by one particular race. Bowling does not require tons of physical ability. Pool, darts, golf, bowling, chess, etc...., anyone of any race can dominate these. Blacks would NOT dominate bowling.

Given that lots of inner city blacks spend lots of time on the tables, why aren`t they dominating the billiards world?
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