How Civilization Changes Our Bodies

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 6:07 PM GMT
    There's a news story in the 4 May issue of Science about a conference presentation by Christopher Ruff from Johns Hopkins U. From measurements of 2000 European skeletons ranging in age to 30,000 years, he's deduced changes in body shape and size due mainly to lifestyle, rather than genetic change.

    The biggest change is our legs have gotten skinnier and weaker. Cave men had booty.

    Everyone got gradually shorter and skinnier over time (except the Vikings) but since 1900, we've grown back to the original height and weight range.

    Pre-agricultural men had massive right arms. Apparently they didn't have to go to work, so they spent all day throwing spears. Riiiiigggggghhht. "Throwing spears." icon_wink.gif

    The story has a few more details. Usually after a talk like this, the publication follows in a few months.

    We can only speculate about how new trends in civilization will change bodies in the future...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 6:21 PM GMT
    I've often wondered if lifestyle played a role in physical changes over time, but never did "real" research to figure it out. I'm glad he did. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 10:19 PM GMT
    Aren't height and the propensity to put on weight determined by genetics though?
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    May 31, 2012 10:38 PM GMT
    MightyMouse87 saidAren't height and the propensity to put on weight determined by genetics though?


    The propensity for height, yes. Actual height depends on a variety of "nurture" factors as well, like childhood diet, medical events during childhood, and childhood activity levels.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 10:39 PM GMT
    jim_stl said
    MightyMouse87 saidAren't height and the propensity to put on weight determined by genetics though?


    The propensity for height, yes. Actual height depends on a variety of "nurture" factors as well, like childhood diet, medical events during childhood, and childhood activity levels.


    As exhibited by the big physical differences between North and South Koreans, lol. Ethnically the same people, but their environments and upbringings could not be more different from each other!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 10:40 PM GMT
    we are getting less and less hairy because of clothing!

    Damnit!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 31, 2012 10:55 PM GMT
    I think the availability of cheap, fast and processed foods alone has changed our bodies. Look at half of America.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    Jun 01, 2012 12:02 AM GMT
    pocketnico said
    jim_stl said
    MightyMouse87 saidAren't height and the propensity to put on weight determined by genetics though?


    The propensity for height, yes. Actual height depends on a variety of "nurture" factors as well, like childhood diet, medical events during childhood, and childhood activity levels.


    As exhibited by the big physical differences between North and South Koreans, lol. Ethnically the same people, but their environments and upbringings could not be more different from each other!

    Speaking of North Korea... I knew the place was hellish, but this kind of freaked me out. Just think, by a quirk of Fate, any of us could have been born as a prison baby in that hell-hole. I truly hope Kim Jong Il is rotting in Hades. http://www.city-journal.org/2012/bc0525df.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 12:48 AM GMT
    GWriter said
    pocketnico said
    jim_stl said
    MightyMouse87 saidAren't height and the propensity to put on weight determined by genetics though?


    The propensity for height, yes. Actual height depends on a variety of "nurture" factors as well, like childhood diet, medical events during childhood, and childhood activity levels.


    As exhibited by the big physical differences between North and South Koreans, lol. Ethnically the same people, but their environments and upbringings could not be more different from each other!

    Speaking of North Korea... I knew the place was hellish, but this kind of freaked me out. Just think, by a quirk of Fate, any of us could have been born as a prison baby in that hell-hole. I truly hope Kim Jong Il is rotting in Hades. http://www.city-journal.org/2012/bc0525df.html


    And that's just it, most North Koreans who try to defect do it out of hunger and desperation. Famine has been widespread throughout North Korea since the '90s.

    Refugees who make it to South Korea stick out like a sore thumb because they're much shorter and thinner than the average South Korean.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 4:53 AM GMT
    Yeah... I was trying to steer the conversation with that "massive right arm" factoid, which by the way, is totally true.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 7:40 AM GMT
    PostureTheoryDiagramGif

    M3820635-Back_pain_due_to_poor_driving_p
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 7:48 AM GMT
    1 race?
    Stronger index finger for superior mouse clicking?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 01, 2012 3:06 PM GMT
    cold said1 race?
    Stronger index finger for superior mouse clicking?



    Don't forget thumbs for texting.