Category Research

Zebrafish Portraits

Although our last common ancestor lived approximately 450 million years ago the genetic profile of the zebrafish, or Danio rerio, is surprisingly similar to human beings. In addition they are easy to breed, have transparent embryo development and are very cost effective. These, and many other qualities, have made zebrafish into man’s most popular model […]

PARs in the Womb

The Incredible Shrinking Man is interested to know what consequences can be expected for human height if nutrition availability after birth doesn’t match predictions by the fetus on the basis of its prenatal environment. During pre-birth development fetuses prepare for the world outside by using the health of their mother as a nutritional barometer. If the mother […]

Micro-Livestock: Guinea Pig

The 1991 OFA report ‘Microlivestock: Little-known Small Animals with a Promising Economic Future’ introduces several alternative small animals for domestication and meat and dairy production. Small animals are easier to breed and keep, and are a quick way of supplementing a diet, especially in less developed countries. One of the species of great interest to […]

Growth Deceleration

Adult size isn’t just determined by how fast we grow. It depends also, and perhaps foremost, on how and when this growth stops. Somatic growth results from both cell proliferation (hyperplasia) and cell enlargement (hypertrophy). In mammals, somatic growth is rapid in embryonic and early postnatal life but decelerates dramatically with age, declining toward zero as […]

Hot Adaptations

Palaeontologists studying fossilised horses have found a direct link between the size of mammals and climate change. According to Dr. Jonathan Bloch, curator of the Florida Museum of Natural History, as temperatures go up size goes down, and vice versa. Bloch: ‘Horses started out small 56 million years ago, about the size of a small dog. What’s […]

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a neurological condition affecting human visual perception, in which objects within an affected section of the visual field appear larger (macropsia) or smaller (micropsia) than normal, causing the subject to feel smaller (or larger) than they actually are. In Lewis Carroll’s famous 19th century novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the title […]

Global Human Biomass

A new REPORT published on BioMed Central rightfully warns us of the need to consider the ecological effects of increasing human weight. Obese and overweight people globally consume an extra amount of food that could feed 300 million people. From data collected in 2005 researchers calculated the total human biomass of the planet’s adult population at  287 […]

Somatostatin Zebrafish Farm

One of the most promising consequences of downsizing the human species is the change in space and time it’ll take to grow food. In several research installations at Food Forward (a look into the future of food) The Incredible Shrinking Man investigates new possibilities. Like the potential for a specific type of fish to feed us […]

GH Resistance

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 it and retain their normal size of less than 150cm. […]

Hhp (Human Height Print)

Tall people need more resources than short people. That’s why it’s rather alarming that the human species continues to grow taller. In fact our increasing height puts more pressure on the ecosystem services than the total population growth. If people become 20% taller this creates over 70% more pressure whereas a 20% population growth would mean 20% […]