Science tells us how humans and their ancestors kept getting taller while getting heavier at the same time. This seems like the logical thing to happen, but it hasn’t always been like that. A new research on the human ancestors which lived 1.5 million years ago revealed how they suddenly got taller while remaining slender.
The human ancestors got taller, but maintained their slender appearance
For this study, researchers analyzed the remains of 311 human ancestors which had already started walking up-straight. At a certain point in their evolution, the hominins gained four extra inches in height, thus becoming significantly taller than their predecessors. However, they also got slimmer.
This change in evolution came as an adaptation to the environmental conditions, as well as the hunting conditions offered by this environment. Being taller but more slender, with narrower hips and longer legs, helped them move around more quickly, and also prepared them to move out of the forests to a more open landscape.
This better suited the environmental conditions they lived in
At the beginning of hominin evolution, the specimens were sturdier and, if they got taller, they also got heavier. However, at a certain point during evolution, there came this disruption. Being heavier and stronger has many advantages, but being taller and slimmer is better during hunting over a savanna landscape.
Studies showed humans adopted a technique called persistent hunting, where they chased the prey until they drove it tired. This was made possible only thanks to their longer legs and slender physique. Also, they could see further away across an open savanna, and the fewer amount of hair on their bodies allowed them to sweat more and get rid of the extra body heat.
About 500,000 years later, the evolution intervened again. As the environment changed and they moved to a colder climate, they had to put on some weight so that they could retain more heat. All the details on this evolution have been published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
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