A couple holding hands walks along a trail at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in Philadelphia. The John Heinz NWR at Tinicum is located in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania about 1 mile from Philadelphia International Airport. The refuge was established by an act of Congress in 1972 to protect the largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania; approximately 200 acres. When acquisition is complete, it will consist of 1200 acres of varied habitats. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Researchers gathered 22 people — 11 men and 11 women who made 11 romantic couples. Researchers had them walk around a track under three conditions: alone, with their significant other and with a friend of the same and opposite sex. (Via PLOS One)
In general, men tend to walk faster than women because walking speed is determined by physical features. (Via Discovery)
Researchers found when men walked with their romantic partners, they slowed down by an average of 7 percent to match the woman’s speed. Women hardly ever change their pace, regardless of the male they’re walking with. (Via WLNY)
But don’t worry, ladies. Your platonic man friends won’t start leaving you in the dust.
Instead, researchers found that in friendship pairs, both men and women alter their walking speed to meet in the middle. However, female pairs walk 3 percent slower than their usual paces while male pairs practically race each other. (Via Jezebel)
So what’s the reason behind the change of pace? According to lead researcher Cara Wall-Scheffler, it’s about reproductive success — women who conserve energy have greater chances of producing and caring for offspring. (Via Daily Mirror)
“By men slowing down, the female reproduction is protected, and that’s not something that is trivial. There is so much data that when women are able to reduce the amount of energy they spend walking, they have more children.” (Via Los Angeles Times)
And there’s plenty of evolutionary research to back that hypothesis.
In hunter-gather societies that sometimes walked long distances, excessive energy expenditure could complicate a woman’s ability to conceive because of the reproductive system’s sensitivity to energy disturbances. (Via Time)
The researchers hope the findings will add another layer of information for interpreting fossil footprints of ancient societies.
The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has served notice to Gov. Nathan Deal that it wants input into any monument to the slain civil rights leader erected on state Capitol grounds – if the state expects free use of King’s copyrighted likeness.