SI has published an article perilously close to saying that genes are accountable for SEC dominance in college football and its annual crop of huge, fast defensive linemen in particular.
Anthropology may help explain why so many good linemen developed in certain areas. Many of the linemen from west of the Rockies are of Polynesian descent. Polynesian cultures tend to produce large men capable of generating massive amounts of force. And with good reason. “Big, fast males sound like what ought to come out of centuries or millennia of social systems where there is direct male-to-male violence, but not where there are standoff weapons used in war like bows and arrows,” University of Utah anthropology professor Henry Harpending wrote in an e-mail. “There was certainly this kind of violence on Polynesian islands, which were demographic pressure cookers.”
Harpending is one of the authors of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, which argues that, contrary to popular belief, the advent of advanced societies didn’t stop human evolution but actually kicked it into a higher gear. In a phone interview, Harpending called the development of the Polynesian islands “a unique experiment in human history.”
“They were fighting for land,” Harpending said. “There just wasn’t enough arable land in most places. The records and the archaeology both show that there was just a lot of warfare, violence, turnover of chiefs.”
Harpending wrote that it might be more difficult to explain the anthropological reasons for the explosion of players in the South without knowing more specifics about their ancestries. Most would be classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as black, and Harpending said most black Americans are descended from ancestors who lived in the tropical regions of central Africa. He wrote that throughout history, most violence in those areas tended to be “hand-to-hand,” which would have produced large, fast, muscular males through natural selection. Like the Polynesians, ancient people in central Africa never favored the bow-and-arrow as a hunting or warfare tool. Harpending said archaeological evidence from central Africa shows the ancient residents preferred spears and bludgeoning instruments. In other words, the biggest and strongest would have survived the fighting to reproduce. “Bows and arrows kept the distance between people,” Harpending said. “It decreased the premium on being big and strong.”
We have a mainstream sports site talking about people being genetically more suited to hand-to-hand violence. That’s like… wow. The crime rate in American Samoa is high for petty crime, but lower for violent crime except rape. Polynesian IQ is estimated at 87.
The corollary to this is that less muscular groups like whites and Asians are more suited to long range violence. It may or may not be pertinent to note that the composite bow is thought to have been developed first by nomads on the Asiatic steppe more than a millenia before the birth of Christ.