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Did All Hunter-Gatherers Really Have a Lean Body Size?

By Nell Stephenson, B.S.
April 15, 2015
Did All Hunter-Gatherers Really Have a Lean Body Size? image

Whether you’re looking at an illustration of a hunter-gatherer in the Paleolithic era with a spear or a photo of modern day advocate in such great shape, they appear to be the perfect specimen of a human. One thing often remains the same image to image: the idea that all hunter-gatherers were lean, mean machines.

But is this theory really all that accurate?

According to newly presented research,1 fragmentary fossils suggest our genus has come in different shapes and sizes since its origins over two million years ago.

How much does what we eat factor into the shape of our bodies?

Dr. Jay T. Stock,2 co-authored a study from the University of Cambridge's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology that compared measurements of fossils from sites in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Georgia. He found significant regional variation in the size of early humans during the Pleistocene, noting “we can now start thinking about what regional conditions drove the emergence of this diversity, rather than seeing body size as a fixed and fundamental characteristic of a species.”

What you eat factors in tremendously to how you look. While genetics is obviously also a factor, we can still control the amount of foods we ingest and our movement. For example, there may be foods we can tolerate better than others based upon our ethnic roots, or our ability to build up endurance to run long distances.

Through a Paleo Diet approach, you can reach your own personal lean body size that combines what nature provided you with and what you choose to nurture yourself with.

If you’re 5’6” and 45 years old, there's unfortunately nothing you can do to get taller. But if you’re also tipping the scales at 200 pounds at that very same height, you can change your body size and shape by choosing the path to better health, simply by what you’re putting in your mouth.

So, carry on being a hunter-gatherer, even if it is 2015 and you’re not exactly doing the hunting and gathering yourself.

The Exercise Habits of Hunter-Gatherers
By Emily Rumsey

References

[1] University of Cambridge. (2015, March 26). Earliest humans had diverse range of body types, just as we do today. Science Daily. Retrieved April 13, 2015 from [2] Manuel" class="redactor-autoparser-object">www.sciencedaily.com/releases/... Will, Jay T. Stock. Spatial and temporal variation of body size among early Homo. Journal of Human Evolution, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.02.009

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