Category: Biology

Juvenile Coccoloba

December 3, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

The Coccoloba gigantifolia, or Giant Seagrape, has the third largest leaf of any plant or tree, just after those of Gunnera manicata and Victoria boliviana. Holding one of its leafs makes you feel tiny, but the trees themselves are not very large and belong to the undergrowth…

3 x 3.75 Mollys

November 17, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

Will a desire for small eventually help us overcome our obsession with continuous growth or is it just another way to continue a feeling of control and abundance? This paradox is the heart of The Incredible Shrinking Man as we state that it is better…

Environmental Stress Hypothesis

November 10, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

In the past 4.000.000 years, human evolution is broadly characterised by a trend of increasing body mass and stature associated with changes in behaviour, diet, cognition, and demographic expansion. The past 2.000.000 years have seen an increase in estimated body size among most Homo species from an…

A Small Advantage

May 30, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

According to research of the University of Southampton the body mass of mammals will shrink by 25% over the next century, as creatures large and small will seek to adapt to environmental changes brought on by extensive habitat loss and other stressors as a result…

Short-Tongued Bombus

April 10, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

A study in Science shows that in a period of just 40 years two alpine bumblebee species (Bombus balteatus and Bombus sylvicola) rapidly evolved significantly shorter tongues. Short-tongued species are more generalist foragers, able to feed on many different types of flowers. They are replacing more specialised, long-tongued…

Trunkism

November 10, 2020 By arne hendriks Off

The growth of a tree trunk demands considerable investment and focus of resources. The competition for sunlight can lead to very differently formed trunks within the same species of tree. A comparison of two white oaks tells the story. The broad-crowned shorter oak grew as a…

The Peruvian Variant

May 30, 2020 By arne hendriks Off

Nearly 4,000 common variations in DNA are known to affect stature. Each variant nudges your height up, or down, with one millimeter or so. But now researchers have identified the single largest genetic contributor to human height known to date. The sensational findings of the…

Hallmarks of Malignant Growth: Deregulating Energy Metabolism

December 20, 2018 By arne hendriks Off

In trying to understand what makes the idea of continuous growth so powerful (despite clear evidence that it is a harmful concept) The Incredible Shrinking Man turned to cancer research to learn where healthy growth turns malignant. Although cancer is a very complex phenomenon the…

Red Knot Protein Transition

May 13, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Reductions in body size in various animals are increasingly being identified as a response to climate warming. As early as the mid 19th century biologists observed that animals in warmer condition often tended to be smaller. The principle was formulated as Bergmann’s Rule. It is…

Trade-Off Dialectics

March 7, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

A trade-off is a situation that involves exchanging one desirable quality or aspect of something in return for another quality or aspect. In an evolutionary sense it is often presumed that every advantageous alteration of a phenotype comes with a disadvantage since energy invested in one…

Small Chameleon’s Mighty Tongue

January 7, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Chameleons employ a power amplification mechanism to ballistically project their tongue as far as two body lengths from their mouth to capture prey. To do so, the tongue is rapidly accelerated off the hyoid with the tongue subsequently traveling to the prey on its momentum…

Full Length over Exon Deficient

November 14, 2015 By arne hendriks 0

The growth hormone receptor is embedded in the outer membrane of cells throughout the body and is most abundant in liver cells.It has three major parts. 1. An extracellular region that sticks out from the surface of the cell. 2. A transmembrane region that anchors…

The Cell Cycle: Gap Zero

May 23, 2015 By arne hendriks 0

The Cell Cycle is a series of articles on the mechanisms and substances that regulate cell growth. The contemporary cell climate is one of constant biological and cultural high pressure to grow, to proliferate, to expand and conquer. The Incredible Shrinking Man wants to investigate…

The Cell Cycle: Détente

April 7, 2015 By arne hendriks 0

The Cell Cycle is a series of articles on the mechanisms and substances that regulate cell growth. The contemporary cell climate is one of constant biological and cultural high pressure to grow, to proliferate, to expand and conquer. The Incredible Shrinking Man wants to investigate…

Desiccation Tolerance

September 15, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

Small people have more skin than tall people, in relation to body volume. With every 10% decrease in body height, body volume decreases with 27%, while skin surface decreases with only 19%. This means, among other things, that smaller humans dehydrate more rapidly. There’s more evaporation…

Catch-Up Growth

July 8, 2014 By arne hendriks 2

Catch-up growth is the accelerated growth of an organism following a period of slowed development. Such slowing down is most often the result of environmental influences such as food scarcity, sudden changes in temperature, or other environmental stress factors. After the situation is normalised, growth…

Cell Culture

March 17, 2014 By arne hendriks 1

The central problem with curbing the growth of the average human body is the deeply embedded desire of each cell to become two cells. This process of division, known as mitosis, represents the essence of our challenge. Cells don’t want to limit themselves. They want to…

Paradoxical Frog

January 14, 2014 By arne hendriks 2

Pseudis Paradoxa is a common frog living in the region between Colombia and Surinam. Its development however is far from common and serves as a reminder that growth doesn’t necessarily have to do with becoming larger. Like most frogs Pseudis Paradoxa starts out as frogspawn…

Turtle Tears

December 16, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

Size strongly influences our ability to recognise and benefit from specific small scale possibilities that would be available if man was a lot smaller. The act of shrinking promotes the Feynmanian awareness that our large size keeps us from a much richer experience of reality, as well…

Japanese Miniatures: Pygmy Squid Bukkake

December 9, 2013 By arne hendriks 3

Bigger males, both human and animal, are generally more successful in attracting and being selected by females. But not in all species. The Incredible Shrinking Man seeks inspiration from those few species where females favour the small, like Idiosepius paradoxus, the Japanese Pygmy Squid. The mating rituals…