Ituri Zebras (Mbuti)May 12, 2013
At an adult height of only 135-140 centimeters the Mbuti of Congo are about 25 to 30% shorter than an average person and among the shortest people alive today. Their average weight of only 40 kg constitutes a significantly more intelligent and efficient body design, needing far less resources to maintain itself. In our investigation on how to downsize the human body it is of the utmost importance to study the Mbuti, their genetic material and their environment and culture. Hopefully it teaches us how to become more like them.
The Mbuti consist of several different ethnic entities, the Efé, the Mbuti and the Asoa. What connects them are the extreme conditions of their natural environment living in the warm, moist and dark Ituri rainforest. The Incredible Shrinking Man is conducting several experiments involving zebrafish to understand how this specific environment may have contributed to the aw inspiring ability of Mbuti people to neutralise the overproduction of growth hormone. Zebrafish are the world most popular model organism representing mankind in innumerable genetic experiments. We’re trying to reproduce aspects of the Ituri Forest environment in a series of fish tanks, changing light conditions, water temperature, diet and other ingredients of this promising habitat. By introducing zebrafish larvae into slightly different conditions based on the forest we hope to understand better how these specific conditions have created people that may very well become the model for a future mankind.