Category: Evolution

Young Mum Factor

November 22, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

To mediate the effects of global warming the Soay sheep on the island of Hirta in Scotland responded by becoming smaller, as many other species of animals are. In the case of Soay sheep the specific reason for a decrease in size is what professor…

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

The past 2.000.000 years have seen an increase in estimated body size among most Homo species from an average of 50 to 70 kg. Environmental challenges, such as arid conditions and low resource availability or habitat instability and resource fluctuation, faced by hominin species, are often overcome by…

Social Canines

October 1, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

Basically it was women who made us human. A female desire for less macho behaviour in male great apes and consequently a greater capacity for collaboration enabled our evolution, and the directional female choice for men with smaller canine teeth led the way. Canine tooth…

Shrinking Human Clickbait?

June 16, 2022 By arne hendriks Off

Hmmm, interesting. In the context of what seems to be the promotion of a new book on mammals, professor Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh lists several all too well-known examples related to the phenomenon of shrinking as a survival mechanism when temperatures rise…

Small Amazonians

November 27, 2021 By arne hendriks Off

Birds are sensitive indicators of environmental change. A recent study of understory birds of the Amazon rainforest over a timespan of 40 years and 77 species shows again that most birds are adapting to the current drastic environmental changes by becoming smaller. By zooming in…

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…

Fear of the Vegetarian

April 13, 2017 By arne hendriks 0

Brian Langerhans and Thomas deWitt of the department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University examined the specificity with which freshwater snails use environmental cues to induce defensive phenotypes such as shrinking. In one environment they introduced a species of sunfish that eats snails, In the…

KancerCel: Dialogues on Malignant Growth

November 23, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

The Incredible Shrinking Man is interested in the relationship between cancer and our society’s obsession with growth. To connect the desire for less with the necessity to overcome our desire for more Arne Hendriks is developing KankerCel (CancerCell). KankerCel merges the languages of cancer research and…

Abundance Fantasies: The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat

November 20, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Perhaps no Hollywood movie director and choreographer personifies the desire for abundance better than Busby Berkeley. His choreographies were wildly extravagant, the geometric patterns hallucinatory, and the props and costumes beyond anything seen before. His work oozes a profound and limitless desire for abundance. And…

Bumblebee Megacolony

November 3, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

A study by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México explored the effects of food availability on the colony and body size of 21 bumblebee taxa. Not surprisingly according to the study, the size of a colony is a direct result of food availability. The more…

Long Legged Risk

October 3, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Long legs beautiful? Perhaps, but according to a study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting  the long-legged have a 42 percent higher risk of developing bowel cancer. Lead author of the study Guillaume Onyeaghala has two hypotheses that may explain the…

3rd Trimester Foetal Hunger

July 14, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Perhaps pregnant women in their last trimester shouldn’t eat too much. In the winter of 1944/45 the Second World War resulted in a severe famine in the Netherlands. The Dutch survived on as little as 30% of their daily needed caloric intake. It is a…

Small-Bodied Survivor

June 9, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

Ever since 2004 when several remains of a 50.000 year old tiny bodied human species were excavated, the Indonesian island of Flores and its ancient population have been in the centre of paleontologists attention. Homo floresiensis as it was named inspired a lively and sometimes…

Early Heroics

March 17, 2016 By arne hendriks 0

During the excavation of a common grave at Romito Cave in Italy, P. Graziosi discovered the diminutive remains of a person that turned out to be the earliest known case of dwarfism in the human skeletal record. The specimen, known as Romito 2, exhibits features…

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…

Dinosaur-Bird Transition

February 16, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

Wonderful things can happen when a species shrinks. In the case of a particular lineage of theropod dinosaurs that wonderful thing eventually turned out to be flight. Dinosaurs became birds. Before the bulky theropods that roamed the Earth 200+ million years ago turned into the…

Nicrophorus Vespilloides

January 10, 2016 By arne hendriks 1

In most species large males have more mating success than small males, either because females find them more attractive or because they can use their strength to intimidate small rivals. They are also more likely to have more sexual partners and be less committed fathers.…

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…

Japanese Miniatures: Social Kogao Chins

April 21, 2015 By arne hendriks 0

A Japanese company for beauty products has developed masks to reduce the size of your face. The inside of the mask is laced with the metal germanium and generates heat on the skin surface to make you sweat out excess moisture. The existence of this…