Category Evolution

Fear of the Vegetarian

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 other a non-molluscivorous, plant-eating, sunfish. Despite the lack of appetite […]

KancerCel: Dialogues on Malignant Growth

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 economics in search of a new vocabulary that is more […]

Abundance Fantasies: The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat

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 yet we’d like to recruit his point of view as […]

Bumblebee Megacolony

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 food, the larger the colony. A similar relationship can be […]

Long Legged Risk

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 association. One idea is that because taller people have longer […]

3rd Trimester Foetal Hunger

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 well-defined group of individuals all of whom suffered just one […]

Small-Bodied Survivor

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 heated debate about smallness and the human species. Who was […]

Early Heroics

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 typical of acromesomelic dysplasia, including a high domed skull, compressed […]

Trade-Off Dialectics

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 feature cannot be invested in another. The Incredible Shrinking Man […]

Dinosaur-Bird Transition

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 elegant feathered creatures we know today, they had to shed […]