Steve Sailer on Malcolm Gladwell’s dubious (yet lucrative) “10,000 hours” theory — and the deeply politically incorrect research that’s behind the challenge:
Epstein, a former college runner, even offers a couple of novel theories of why people of West African descent make the best sprinters. He points out that several of the top Jamaican sprinters, including Usain Bolt (a classic gifted goof), are from Trelawny Parish, historically the home to Jamaica’s largest free community of escaped slaves, the Maroons. Perhaps their ancestors were just tougher, and that’s why they ran away and stayed free for hundreds of years?
Epstein also speculates that the high fraction of fast-twitch muscle fibers in West Africans might have evolved as a defense against malaria. This is not a prima facie ridiculous idea, since falciparum malaria is arguably the worst disease on Earth and produces the most Darwinian pressure to evolve defenses. (The sickle cell genetic mutation, which deals out protection from malaria to those who inherit one copy and death to those who inherit two copies, is proof of how far nature will go to slow down malaria.)