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We're all getting smaller and our brains are shrinking... is farming to blame?

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posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:03 AM
Having conquered Everest and landed on the Moon, it is tempting to think we are bigger and better than our ancestors.

But on a purely physical basis, it seems, we just don’t measure up. Mankind is actually shrinking.

Cambridge University experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 per cent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Sorry if this has already been posted.

I don't believe in this myself as i have seen doorways that date back hundreds of years and they are small and i am 6'3 so i know that humans are getting taller and a developed brain is better no matter the size.
edit on 13/6/11 by Viking9019 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:16 AM
Yes because brain size has everything to do with how intelligent we are. When did hunter gatherers ever create a nuclear power plant? Also, we sit in cars, offices, houses, etc. all the time. Our bodies do not need to be as big because the physical demands of the average human are significantly declined.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:24 AM
This thread topic is probably more to blame than farming.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:30 AM
We as a species are de-evolving.

The driving force behind evolution is the survival of the fittest. In the past, the stupid people died, and only the intelligent ones survived. Nowadays, the stupid people are protected by warning signs telling them that milk contains milk, that rocket launcher is to be pointed towards your enemy, and that you shouldn't try to stop a chainsaw with your hands or genitalia. Then the stupid people just keep on living and having kids, thus breaking the whole evolutionary process.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:39 AM
speak for yourself I'm a giant

seriously though if people are shrinking I put it down to children having bad diets and a lack of evolutionary pressure.

We lack threats that would take those people that probably shouldn't have kids.

We lack danger in our lives.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:51 AM
reply to post by Naphariel

I don't know that this is true, there may be some other explanation. Your scenario would not surprise me though.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:03 AM
This is not true at all. The average height for a man living in colonial america was 5'7 while the average height for a man today is 5'9 if anything we are getting bigger

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posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:10 AM
reply to post by Viking9019

I really don’t know how these Cambridge "experts" worked this out and came to their conclusions

As you have already touched on; If you look at homes built in the middle ages they had low ceilings and door frames. It is often said that people were, on average, shorter back then. Even 60 or 70 years ago people in Britain were shorter on average. My grandfather was 6ft and was seen as a "big" man in his day. However, 6ft foot now is not considered to be anything special.

Height and size has a lot to do with environmental factors such as poverty and food shortage.

I really don’t see how they came to the conclusion that modern farming is making us smaller when you consider that, on average, indigenous tribes people are smaller than those who live in developed countries.

If anything i would say that modern farming is responsible for making us bigger; what with all the growth hormones they pump into livestock!!

However, having said all this I must confess that I only skim read the article because I am late for work. So these are merely my initial thought on the subject. Once I get into work I shall have a proper read

edit on 13-6-2011 by Muckster because: (no reason given)

edit on 13-6-2011 by Muckster because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:13 AM
reply to post by Naphariel

In some sense I have to agree and yet how cold and sick a world would we live in if we removed all the compassion and just went with survival of the fittest. No kidney transplants, food drives and clothing drives, spectacles to improve sight, modern medicine would go right out the window. We'd be back in a world where we live to be forty and one of our seven kids survives long enough to pass on their genes and that only if we're lucky.

And for the record there's no such thing as de-evolution, evolution isn't a progression from better to worst, remember that survival of the fittest is only being fit ENOUGH to maintain a decent breeding population or two.

As much as we might be mucking about with nature I'd prefer to keep empathy and compassion towards other human beings at maximum if its all the same.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:41 AM
no more challenges anymore.

ya, we can live longer and get bigger but our basic physiology has changed.

why are chimps 2x's as strong as us?

i wouldn't tackle a 5'5'' peasant from anywhere in the world, that's spent their life in the field.

they say neanderthal was robust, lol! they were freekin gorillas!

rip your arm off in a heart beat and beat you over the head with it!

farming gives us more food and more people.

good for many people but it lets the lesser males get in their genes in the pool too.

you know who i'm talking about, ats.

i don't know but it sounds like the old time greek olympics were pretty radical and out of reach from what we can or would do today.

no doubt domestication of the human race is leading down a less robust past.

look down, can you see your chair?
edit on 13-6-2011 by fooks because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 05:00 AM
Some of you here are awfully short-sighted. They are not talking about the size of men a couple of hundred years ago, they are talking about many thousands of years ago. The shrinkage actually began around the time that farming came into practice. That is the correlation they are making.

It surprises me not. We think that our modern technological world is challenging to our brains, but it is really just a matter of digesting formalized education and training. We are pablum fed formulas and have to do little but learn to use them once having memorized them.

I would suggest that this world is far less challenging than trying to survive by your wits alone without more than the guidance of your parents and elders. It takes a whole lot more smarts to capture, kill and cook some wild prey than to go down to the local grocery and hand in your food stamps or swipe your debit card.

We surely are becoming dumber and physically weaker now compared to thousands of years back. This is just as the notorious PTB would have it -- makes us much easier to manipulate and control.

Give me a cave-man any day!

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 05:32 AM
Who was the control group that we are comparing modern man too?

When youdo a comparison, youhave to consider one group to another. Were the ancient anatomies localized? What was their location and environ? What are the indications of health or even race or ethnic group?

Modern man, in my opinion, is more genetically mixed and varied than ever before. A few hundred or thousand years ago... groups would have been isolated regionally and certain traits would have been local and perpetuated. Today, when you cross a short people with tall people, it seems logical that some traits will come to the forefront and others become the case of height and stature... an Asian crosses with an African....will the resulting genetics be taller or shorter?

Also, as indicated by a previous poster, diet and nutrition play a major role...I personally know several Hispanics now living in the US that have children now way taller than both parents...proper diet and nutrition and a stable enviroment both played a role.

Lastly, I also suppose that averages come into play, which goes back to my original point...who and where were the control group. If I introduce 5 adults that had suffered malnutrition during youth and were only 5'-5'5" tall into a group of 6'-6'5" NBA allstars.... the height of the group as a whole goes down by average.

Likewise, if we take an isolated group of Cromagnon Cave Dwellers and compare to a varied and mixed cross section of Europe or America...the results would be equally influenced.

I tend to view man as getting bigger and taller. Look back at some of the old uniforms and armour of the last 500-1000 years... these people were small in comparison to maodern day man.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 06:15 AM
reply to post by wayno

how many times we have had to use our teeth or a tool to

open a frikin milkyway?


farming implies complacency, ergo, lax and less robust.

and let them crappy genes in the pool.

ya, we have humanity but we will end up pasty grey with crappy teeth and skinny arms and legs.

you people don't know my uncle.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by Naphariel

I'm sure you would support eugenics as well?

That would make you one of them.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by The Sword

Unconscious eugenics is underway as we speak. Maybe its not so indiscreet tho. Look at advertising for the "ideal" man or woman. Most people aspire to the same ideals because that is what is put in our faces everyday through advertising. As soon as the technology is out, people will be deliberately choosing to have blond, blue-eyed babies who will grow to be over 6 feet tall -- even black, brown and beige skinned people will be doing it.

Diversity will be gone. Life will become very boring. The human race will lose its vitality and become as susceptible to risk as today's Monsanto frankenseeds.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 03:56 PM
size and strength in the long run, are not gonna be a trait that survives if humans want to keep progressing on the intellectual level.

there was a VERY controversial international study done awhile back, that showed when certain cultures continuely bred on the basis of size, strength, sexual preference, and social traits, that IQ went out the window. said culture is known to be the only one on the planet with no known technical advancement past nor present. some might see where I'm going with this, and thus why the study was soo controversial.

also many animal studies confirm this as well. survival of the fittest in a physical sense just breeds a tougher predator, not a smarter one.

posted on Jun, 13 2011 @ 05:03 PM

Originally posted by wayno
reply to post by The Sword

Unconscious eugenics is underway as we speak. Maybe its not so indiscreet tho. Look at advertising for the "ideal" man or woman. Most people aspire to the same ideals because that is what is put in our faces everyday through advertising. As soon as the technology is out, people will be deliberately choosing to have blond, blue-eyed babies who will grow to be over 6 feet tall -- even black, brown and beige skinned people will be doing it.

While true, how many of us actually fall for it?, enough to make a difference?... I personally dont think so at all, although they'd like you to think we all aspire to the nordic ideal.

Look at all those that do end up breeding, look at every couple holding hands or pushing a baby stroller down the street, they run the whole gamut of physical spectrum. Me I find blonde blue eyed people boring personally from a physical standpoint... for me the perfect mate is a pale skinned, freckled with red hair woman who is either my height or smaller, and being a small man (5 foot 5ish inches) that means a small woman, throw in my recessive genes from my farther and our off spring would all be mostly all short red heads with pale skin and freckles.

Im not in the minority for those types of preferences either. Thats what is so wonderful about life, the whole survival of the fittest argument when applied to humans and anything else is a lie, thankfully (animals are different in many ways since they cant fully reduce their environments hazards but their are many many examples of the 'weak' in the animal kingdoms passing on their genes regardless,and many many examples of where the fittest paradigm has created situations where a species has nose dived into the realm of extinction or where the 'weak' from a human stand point is in fact better, ie Indonesian pygmy elephants, granted they are extinct, but that was mans fault if I remember rightly).

As for us getting smaller due to farming... big whoop really, just remember that health and fitness isnt really linked to physical appearance nor stature. One day a disease might appear that only effects people taller than 5 feet and due to a linked gene only all small people retain they are immune to the diseases effect. We tamper with Eugenics at our own peril, and that goes with any form... thankfully you cant force someone to love who they love, and if it gets to the point where they do (selective breeding programs and 'licenses' to breed, forced sterility for anyone who doesn't fit the genetic profile) then I say let the human race die...

As for brains shrinking... well as others mention, we've done more with our smaller brains than our predecessors did with theirs. Brains shrinking isnt the issue really, its brains not being utilized sufficiently...

posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 01:57 PM
reply to post by Naphariel

There's no such thing as devolving. You need to get off this website and hit the biology books.

posted on Jun, 14 2011 @ 01:58 PM
Oxygen stealing pollution

posted on Jun, 16 2011 @ 06:19 AM
reply to post by BigfootNZ

Does anyone really think that a generation of couch potatoes is going to lead us to an improvement in the brains and brawn of the species? Will sitting around and playing video games be as stimulating to the faculties as the real thing?? Will driving a car in traffic or sitting on a bus, train or plane be better for us physically and mentally than walking or running?

Hardly. What you don't use, you lose. And maybe thats the crux of it. If we had the same complex challenges our forefathers did, perhaps like a muscle, our brains would grow! As it is, atrophy is all we can expect from a lifestyle that is for the most part very boring and un-stimulating. For most of us its the same routines every day, doing the same boring repetitive tasks on the job, at home and at play.

Our bodies and brains react to stimulus. They adapt and grow to meet the needs. Today's man needs little brawn or brains to "survive". And that is all most of us do is survive; not live.

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