Category: Anthropology

Mayan Dwarf Liminality

February 23, 2020 By arne hendriks Off

Short-statured people, dwarfs and people with achondroplasia play a significant role in Maya mythology because it is believed that dwarfs lived together with the gods before humans even existed. This presumed divine proximity and intimacy with the unknown gave small-statured status. They knew something the…

The Aesthetics of Upward Arrow

February 25, 2019 By arne hendriks Off

Are arrows going up more beautiful than arrows going down? The upward arrow seems deeply embedded within the psyche of modern man. It inspires a positive emotional response while a downward arrow triggers negative feelings. The Simple Growth Obsession Test shows this default response also occurs when…

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…

Savage Scale Models

November 16, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

In his structuralist anthropological study The Savage Mind Claude Lévi-Strauss writes: ” To understand a real object in its totality we always tend to work from its parts. Reduction in scale reverses this situation…in the case of scale models, in contrast to what happens when…

Counterfactual History

September 22, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

If we consider contemporary human size as just one possible outcome of different evolutionary possibilities then perhaps it becomes easier to envision a different, short-sized, future. What if human evolution had developed differently? Counterfactual history tries to answer what-if questions. It explores history by means…

Brodmann’s Area 10

September 10, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

Humanity’s insular dwarf Homo floresiensis, a human species that lived up until 12.000 year ago on the island of Flores, was only 100 to 110 cm tall and weighed approximately 25 kg. With its small size came a equally small brain of just 380 cm3. Modern man…

Tiny House Movement

April 15, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

Fish kept in small tanks remain small because they produce pheromones that suppress growth. If the same rule applies to people, the small house movement may proof to be a powerful tool to curb our physical growth. The small house movement is an intriguing architectural and social movement…

Messengers of the Small Truth

March 4, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

Growth is a human default mode. Every individual, every reproduced cell and in fact every selfish copy of our DNA, intends to proliferate. From an evolutionary perspective such a default mode made perfect sense in the year 4.000 BC when the world population of Homo…

GH Resistance

December 26, 2011 By arne hendriks 1

Stature is a highly heritable trait controlled by genetic and environmental factors. Pygmies display a remarkable and inspiring resistance to growth hormone (GH). African Pygmies represent a paradigmatic example of non-disease-related idiopathic short stature. Even if large quantities of GH are administered to them, they simply ignore…

The Larons

November 9, 2011 By arne hendriks 2

People living in remote villages in Ecuador have a genetic mutation that may just hold the key to shrinking mankind. The villagers have a rare condition known as Laron syndrome. They are generally less than three and a half feet tall, they are proportional, and interestingly, they are…

Human Hypervariability

November 2, 2011 By arne hendriks 2

Humans are an extremely hypervariable species. There is a large intraspecial difference between its largest and smallest members. The smallest adult person, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, is less than 55 centimeters tall, while the tallest person that ever lived, Robert Wadlow, reached a height of 272 centimeters. That makes…

Small Brain Issue

October 2, 2011 By arne hendriks 1

It seems there are ways for the brain to retain intellectual capacity even when it shrinks dramatically. The study of Homo Floresiensis shows that despite being only 100 cm tall, and with the brain size of a Chimpansee, he possessed technology we’d normally only expect of…

The Court Dwarfs: Seneb & Bes

September 26, 2011 By arne hendriks 1

In ancient Egypt a remarkable number of dwarfs gained prestigious roles within the dynasty. This can be concluded from the remains of their lavish burials. Egypt’s best known dwarf was Seneb, which means healthy. His career is documented on the false door and the plinths of…

Anthropology of Small Mythological Characters

July 11, 2011 By arne hendriks 1

Undoubtedly myths have some responsibility for how we define our relationship with the small. Mythical explanations of the world often present small beings as metaphors for the unexplainable. The small have become a space to project human desires, fears, ideals and ideas. Knowledge of this vast…

Pygmy People

March 20, 2011 By arne hendriks 0

Pygmy is a term used for various ethnic groups whose average height is less than 150 cm (4 feet 11 inches). The best known pygmies are the Mbuti of Central Africa. There are also pygmies in Asia, Australia and South America. Especially interesting are the Rampasasa of the island of Flores in…

Homo Sindhiensis

March 6, 2011 By arne hendriks 0

If anthropology teaches us one thing it is that the human species was, and is, in a continuous state of development. Homo Sapiens, much like Homo Floresiensis, probably will eventually change into a new species, a species better equiped to deal with the challenges of…

Missing Molars & Microdontia

November 19, 2010 By arne hendriks 0

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…

Dwarf Worship

June 27, 2010 By arne hendriks 0

At the end of the 19th century R.G. Haliburton ‘hunted’ for a secret dwarf tribe he believed to live somewhere in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. It aroused quite some interest as this article in The New York Times dated 27 september 1891 shows. The…

Outsourcing Brain Capacity

May 22, 2010 By arne hendriks 0

“But what do we do with the brain?”, was the first question a neighbor asked when he heard of the ambitions of The Incredible Shrinking Man to shrink the human species to 50 centimeters. It’s a good question.  Although not proven beyond a doubt, there…

The Hobbit of Flores

April 5, 2010 By arne hendriks 3

Homo floresiensis, nicknamed “hobbit”, is an extinct human species discovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Partial skeletons of nine individuals have been recovered, including one complete skull. This hominin is remarkable for its small body and brain and for its survival until as…