Category: Evolution

Non hopping Kangaroo

November 24, 2014 By arne hendriks 1

When asked what defines a kangaroo, most people would probably say it’s the fact that they hop. Christine Janis of Brown University was studying a species of giant kangaroo, the Procoptodon goliah when it occurred to her that its weight of 240 kg, it’s bone…

Desiccation Tolerance

September 15, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

Small people have more skin than tall people, in relation to body volume. With every 10% decrease in body height, body volume decreases with 27%, while skin surface decreases with only 19%. This means, among other things, that smaller humans dehydrate more rapidly. There’s more evaporation…

Microbial Temper Tantrums

March 22, 2014 By arne hendriks 0

In stressful conditions, cells must prevent the initiation of replication and shift their priorities to protective functions. In other words: they must stop division and growth. Experiments in bacteria at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have uncovered the mechanism that translates stress into blocked cell growth.…

Paradoxical Frog

January 14, 2014 By arne hendriks 2

Pseudis Paradoxa is a common frog living in the region between Colombia and Surinam. Its development however is far from common and serves as a reminder that growth doesn’t necessarily have to do with becoming larger. Like most frogs Pseudis Paradoxa starts out as frogspawn…

Japanese Miniatures: Pygmy Squid Bukkake

December 9, 2013 By arne hendriks 3

Bigger males, both human and animal, are generally more successful in attracting and being selected by females. But not in all species. The Incredible Shrinking Man seeks inspiration from those few species where females favour the small, like Idiosepius paradoxus, the Japanese Pygmy Squid. The mating rituals…

Celebrate Lactose Intolerance

October 5, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

Milk consumption is one of the engines of the global increase in human height. Therefore we should be grateful for lactose intolerance (the inability to digest milk). It’s what’s keeping people from all over the world from an even more devastating and pointless growth in…

Shrinking is Easy

September 5, 2013 By arne hendriks 1

There’s a basic asymmetry in macro-evolution. On the evolutionary scale shrinking is easy and growing large is difficult. This is probably due to the emergence, during a trend of increasing maximum body size, of a series of anatomical, physiological, environmental, genetic and other constraints that…

Abundance Fantasies: Al-Kawthar

June 23, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

In the Abundance fantasies we explore the origin and contemporary meaning of symbols, stories and tropes of abundance. People have an insatiable desire for more, but in reality we constantly have to cope with scarcity. Perhaps the activation of an abundance iconography will help further ignite…

Hourglass, Banana, or Spoon?

March 31, 2013 By arne hendriks 0

Even within a speculative research such as The Incredible Shrinking Man it is difficult to imagine what the average human body will look like if we decide to shrink to 50 centimetres. However, based on the specific physical adaptations to environment and our various diets…

The Short Origin of Species

December 23, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

Cope’s rule, that species tend to increase body size over time, seems to reinforce the present day believe that bigger is better. Why else, if not for evolutionary advantages, would species evolve towards bigger size? Unfortunately it is precisely this deterministic thinking that we’ve become…

Cope’s (non)Rule

October 31, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

Cope’s rule states that, as geologic time progresses, body size increases. Edward Drinker Cope, a dinosaur fossil hunter who postulated the rule at the end of the 19th century, based his theory on the analysis of over 1500 fossil families. The more recent species in his…

Hot Adaptations

October 8, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

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…

Rete Mirabile

October 1, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

Lucia Zarate was a famous 19th century dwarf and, at just over 2 kg, the lightest adult person ever to be recorded. Her untimely death when she got trapped in a snowstorm acts as a warning. The smaller body is much more sensitive to external temperature change…

Gene Shortage

September 29, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

Research shows that missing copies of genes or other sections of DNA could be responsible for up to half of the genetic impact on our height. The genetic abnormalities – known as copy number variants (CNV) – are alterations within the chromosome  which means a…

180 Loci

September 26, 2012 By arne hendriks 1

Height is a classic polygenic trait which means it’s influenced by multiple genetic and environmental factors. Up to 90% of the variation in height is determined by inherited factors. Until now only a fraction of this 90% has been profiled succesfully. However, recent advances in…

Overcoming the Height Gap

September 13, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

There’s a 40% difference in height between the shortest 5 percentile and the tallest 5 percentile of the adult human population. That puts humans amongst the Earth’s most hypervariable species. Shrinking the body will create an even greater height gap, Younger generations will be shorter…

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…

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

August 20, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

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…

Global Human Biomass

June 22, 2012 By arne hendriks 0

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…

Dwarf Zoo

May 15, 2012 By arne hendriks 3

The Dwarf Zoo is a growing archive of insularly dwarfed animals. Often when a species gets stuck on an island their size changes. Sometimes they grow larger like the giant turtles on the Galapagos. In Dwarf Zoo however we are interested in insular dwarfs; island…