Belly buttons determine athletic prowess, says study -

Belly buttons determine athletic prowess, says study

Difference explains why blacks, whites better at some sports


Black athletes perform better on the running track, and whites in the swimming pool, because of their belly buttons, according to a new study in the International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics. The shape of the belly button isn’t the issue; rather, it’s where it’s positioned relative to the rest of the body, AFP reports. As the centre of gravity for the body, its position is more important than total height, according to lead author Andre Bejan of Duke University. “It so happens that in the architecture of the human body of West African-origin runners, the center of gravity is significantly higher than in runners of European origin,” giving them an advantage in track sprints, he said, as black athletes therefor have a “hidden height” three percent greater than whites, giving them a speed advantage. Meanwhile, in the pool, those with longer torsos have an advantage.


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Belly buttons determine athletic prowess, says study

  1. I can't help it but to laugh, I don't even know what to make of this….

  2. And where is the belly button on the Raramuri Indians of Mexico's Sierra Madre/Copper Canyon region? These are the ultramarathoners who have one every competition they have entered.

  3. My belly button is an ''Inny '' and lower on my stomach, I wonder if that is why I tend to swim on the bottom of the pool ??

  4. The researchers have reached new heights in navel-gazing. (Someone had to say it.)

  5. Is this a leftover from 04-01-2010? If not, the story seems to suggest longer legs give the advantage, which makes common sense, if nothing else.

  6. Awesome fact checking, Maclean's.
    1. There is no "Andre Bejan" on Duke's faculty. There is an Adrian Bejan, but his website makes no mention of this paper or of any research that looks remotely related to this subject.
    2. The website of "The International Journal of Design and Nature and Ecodynamics" has no research paper on this subject. (It actually looks kind of fake, given that this supposedly academic site lists papers with illiterate titles such as "Is The Living Dynamics Able To Change The Properties Of Water?". Also, a web search for the journal's title turns up mainly references to this story in a wide range of )
    3. An academic would presumably not use the term "center of gravity" but rather "center of mass", unless they wanted to refer to the somewhat improbable scenario of someone running through a variable gravity field.
    4. Setting aside the quibble about whether we're talking about a center of gravity or of mass, the variations between people within the categories of "white" or "West African" are, I'm willing to bet, far more significant than the variations between the averages of the two categories.
    5. And in any case Maclean's manages to screw up the categories, referring in the opener to "black athletes" when there are huge variations (particularly in performance at long-distance vs sprinting events) between top East African and top West African athletes.

    Whole thing smacks at a minimum of Maclean's just jumping on the bandwagon with this story, and quite possibly having fallen victim to a hoax.