Humans have evolved into a weaker-framed being due to laziness, scientists say.
Compared to early humans and even other primates, our skeletons are now a lighter weight. Biological anthropologist Habiba Chirchir and her colleagues at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History study bones of different humans and other primates. They discovered that the ends of our bones are less dense than those of chimpanzees and orangutans. They tried to figure out when and why human bones began losing density.
Their first guess was that it happened a couple of million years ago when humans traveled long distances. The lighter bones would have made long distance travel easier. Examination of fossils showed their guess was wrong. The bone density of humans apparently deteriorated about 12,000 years ago when we became more involved in agricultural activities and less involved in hunting and gathering. In other words, when humans quit hunting extensively their bones became weaker.
Timothy Ryan, an associate professor of anthropology at Penn State University and part of another group of researchers came to the same conclusion. They looked at 1,000-year-old bones of people from farming villages and compared them to those of foragers of the same time. The farmer’s bones were less dense and strong than those of the foragers. Ryan said:
…we attribute it to lack of mobility and more sedentary populations. Definitely physical activity and mobility is a critical component in building strong bones.
There you have it. Hunting is healthy and good for your bones!