Category Anthropology

Human Hypervariability

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 Wadlow 477% taller than Chandra. But even if we disregard […]

Small Brain Issue

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 human species with larger brains. The average brain size of […]

Seneb & Bes

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 his statues, which record twenty titles including, beloved of the king, […]

Anthropology of Small Mythological Characters

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 component of global mythology can be of some importance if […]

Pygmy People

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 Indonesia, because of their predecessor Homo Floresiensis. Various theories have […]

Homo Sindhiensis

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 its time. Even without humans interfering. Perhaps some evolutionary experiments […]

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 […]

Dwarf Worship

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 full transcript of the investigations by Haliburton gives an insight […]

Outsourcing Brain Capacity

“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 seems to be a strong correlation between brain size and […]

The Hobbit of Flores

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 recently as 12,000 years ago. The first set of remains […]