Cruz Roja ready for victims of bulls

The Cruz Roja will have a busy 11 days.

This year there are two competing programs of toros a la Tica.  One is at Zapote and the other is at Pedregal.

At both locations, starting Christmas Day, presumably normal individuals will walk willingly into a ring with an 800 to 900-pound unhappy bull.

Cruz Roja will attend to the wounds and transport those seriously hurt to local hospitals.

Spectators will pay to watch what transpires in the bull ring. And the events will be televised.

Every year those who call themselves toreros improvisados try their luck against the bulls. Although the Christmas events are probably larger, there are similar activities at the festival in Palmares in mid-January and at most local fairs throughout the year. There also can be more traditional bull riding.

Sometimes a participant is killed. Bulls do not know they are starring in a television attraction.

The toreros sometimes wear distinctive clothing. There are women in the rings, too.

Compared to the bulls, the Tope Nacional or the Tradicional Desfile de Caballistas, the big horse parade Friday is tame. Cruz Roja will handle sunburns and medical conditions at 15 aid stations. There may be a few drunks, too, because the tope provides an excuse, and the sun will be hot.

Drinking and riding is frowned upon, but some riders will partake, too. The aid stations will be along the parade route from Plaza Víquez to Calle 34, the Cruz Roja said.

Modern humans have more fragile bones

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The bones of modern humans are more fragile than those of non-human primates and our hunter-gatherer ancestors, and the agricultural revolution is to blame.

Researchers from Penn State and the University of Cambridge compared the top of the femur, where the long leg bone joins the hip in samples from early farmers, foraging populations and non-human primates. CT scans showed the honeycomb-like bone inside the femur head of hunter-gatherers was much denser than that of the more sedentary agriculturalists.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they say different activity patterns display significantly different bone structure. Co-author Tim Ryan said the findings suggest physical activity, especially when young, is critical to building strong bones throughout life.

The research could shed light on osteoporosis, a bone-weakening condition.

In another study in the same issue, researchers report human lightweight skeletons evolved relatively recently, about 12,000 years ago.

Brian Richmond of George Washington University and his international team used high-resolution CT scans on different limb joints of modern humans and chimpanzees, as well as several hominid ancestors. They also found bone density decreased over the millennia, and it was more pronounced in the lower joints than in the upper ones, like the shoulder, elbow and hand.

Richmond said, “this density drastically drops off … when we started to use agricultural tools to grow food and settle in one place.”

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