Category Biology

Paradoxical Frog

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 before turning into tadpoles. The tadpoles of the paradox frog […]

Turtle Tears

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 as almost limitless abundance. Like these Amazon butterflies and bees […]

Japanese Miniatures: Pygmy Squid Bukkake

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 of the Japanese pygmy squid include neither pleasant courtship nor […]

It’s Not (All) About Genes

There is a strong correspondance between the heights of offspring and the average height of the two parents. In Western societies this amounts to height being up to 90% heritable. But although who your parents are is the predominant determination of height, it’s no excuse for it. Heritability statistics do not reflect the relative importance of […]

Rete Mirabile

Lucia Zarate was a famous 19th century dwarf and, at just over 2 kg, the lightest adult person ever to be recorded. Her untimely death when she got trapped in a snowstorm acts as a warning. The smaller body is much more sensitive to external temperature change because of its greater surface area (skin) by weight. If we […]

Brown Fat Thermogenesis

If we shrink to 50 centimeters controlling body temperature becomes a real challenge. Large mass bodies can much easier deal with differences in outside temperature. But perhaps a simple evolutionary adaptation, observed in small mammals and human infants, points towards a possible solution. Biologist Per-Ivar Kloen informed us that small mammals and newborns, especially those […]

Monkey Lungs

According to the flamboyant geneticist and evolutionary biologist  J.B.S. Haldane, comparative anatomy is largely the story of the struggle to increase surface in proportion to volume. For human lungs this meant that as we grew larger, in order to bring enough oxygen to all parts of the body, the lungs increased in complexity. In comparison […]

B-Movie Biology

The shrinkfilm archive features many 50’s movies of debatable quality. And there’s a reason: B-movies of the 50’s are a rich source of inspiration for size-related speculation.  The premise of the 50’s B-movie is invariably to take something out of its usual context  -make people or animals large (or small)- and then deal with the […]

Uppers & Downers

Hormones play a key role in growth as the chemical mediators with which the growth process is stimulated, or slowed down. Most hormones are controlled by a negative feedback inhibition loop. If we are to shrink the human species manipulation of this loop may represent one of the possible approaches. Negative feedback was first implemented in […]

Missing Molars & Microdontia

In a 2008 discovery of the remains of small humans (130 – 140 cm) on the Micronesian island of Palau it was observed that the teeth seemed unusually large in comparison to the jaw bone. Discoverer Lee Berger speculates that this is the result of a process of rapid dwarfing. Teeth apparently need more time […]