Surprising Truths About Prehistoric Humans Revealed in Study – .

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Surprising Truths About Prehistoric Humans Revealed in Study – .


Anthropologists who study prehistoric humans say their recent research shows that climate has a direct impact on body mass, but not much on brain size as some previously believed.

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Anthropologists who study prehistoric humans say their recent research shows that climate has a direct impact on body mass, but not much on the size of their brains as some previously thought.

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Anthropologists Jay Stock, of Western University, and Manuel Will of the University of Tübingen, Germany, have teamed up to study the body and brain sizes of more than 300 Homo fossils from around the world.

The results of their study were published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications.

“The first assumption of most evolutionary biologists is that environments cause most changes in species,” Stock said. “Show that this is only a small effect and show that statistically is really important. “

Working with ecological and climate experts from the University of Cambridge, the duo associated each fossil with the specific climate it has lived in for the past million years.

Research shows the impact of climate on the Homo species, but not on Homo sapiens which emerged 30,000 years ago.

The researchers found that while temperature changes impacted body size – colder climates resulted in larger bodies while warmer temperatures produced smaller bodies – there was a “weaker” link between climate and brain size.

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They suggest that because less heat is released by large bodies, they act as a protective shield against the cold.

While the correlation between brain size and environment was weaker, they found brains were larger in environments such as steppes and grasslands, where researchers suggest they needed a brain. bigger due to the more complex task of hunting larger creatures.

“We found that different factors determine brain size and body size; they’re not under the same evolutionary pressures, ”said Will. “The environment has a much greater influence on the size of our body than on the size of our brain. “

The researchers said they used non-traditional approaches to determine body mass that allowed them to access 10 times the data from previous similar studies.

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“Previous studies have estimated the size of the brain and body from a small number of relatively complete fossils,” Stock said. “We have found ways to extrapolate data from more incomplete fossils. “

Stock said they hope they can expand the analysis beyond the million years discussed in their article in the future.

“Many of the most interesting changes in the brains and bodies of our ancestors happened between four and a million years ago,” Stock said. “In the future, we hope to examine the past evolution of traits such as brain size or bipedalism to determine if there were any specific environmental correlates. “

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