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Dawn of agriculture took toll on health
Emory University ^ | June 7, 2011 | Carol Clark

Posted on 06/15/2011 7:13:01 AM PDT by decimon

When populations around the globe started turning to agriculture around 10,000 years ago, regardless of their locations and type of crops, a similar trend occurred: The height and health of the people declined.

“This broad and consistent pattern holds up when you look at standardized studies of whole skeletons in populations,” says Amanda Mummert, an Emory graduate student in anthropology.

Mummert (in photo at right) led the first comprehensive, global review of the literature regarding stature and health during the agriculture transition, to be published by the journal Economics and Human Biology.

“Many people have this image of the rise of agriculture and the dawn of modern civilization, and they just assume that a more stable food source makes you healthier,” Mummert says. “But early agriculturalists experienced nutritional deficiencies and had a harder time adapting to stress, probably because they became dependent on particular food crops, rather than having a more significantly diverse diet.”

She adds that growth in population density spurred by agriculture settlements led to an increase in infectious diseases, likely exacerbated by problems of sanitation and the proximity to domesticated animals and other novel disease vectors.

Eventually, the trend toward shorter stature reversed, and average heights for most populations began increasing. The trend is especially notable in the developed world during the past 75 years, following the industrialization of food systems.

(Excerpt) Read more at esciencecommons.blogspot.com ...


TOPICS: Food; Health/Medicine
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; anthrpology; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble
A little something for the agriphiles and the agriphobes.
1 posted on 06/15/2011 7:13:03 AM PDT by decimon
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To: neverdem; DvdMom; grey_whiskers; Ladysmith; Roos_Girl; Silentgypsy; conservative cat; ...

Cultivated ping.


2 posted on 06/15/2011 7:15:01 AM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon
Most of the world's populations totally dependent on Northern seafood have short stature ~ which is believed to be an adaptation to cold weather. Shorter arms and legs increase the relative size of the torso and improve heat retention.
3 posted on 06/15/2011 7:16:14 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: decimon

White men can’t jump.


4 posted on 06/15/2011 7:28:22 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: decimon

Or maybe the weak and infirm stopped STARVING?


5 posted on 06/15/2011 7:41:54 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: decimon

Domestication of animals certainly did result in new diseases. We started catching diseases that the animals had, like TB and anthrax.


6 posted on 06/15/2011 7:43:41 AM PDT by RadiationRomeo (Step into my mind and glimpse the madness that is me)
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To: SJSAMPLE

Quite possibly.

However, if you keep the weak and infirm alive, the average health of the population goes down.


7 posted on 06/15/2011 9:14:54 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: decimon

The most important effect of agriculture was that it supported much denser populations, 10x to 50x per square mile.

This meant that a food-growing tribe would defeat a hunting and gathering tribe just about every time, even if the individual hunters were on average bigger, stronger and probably better with their weapons.


8 posted on 06/15/2011 9:25:27 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Sherman Logan

Should we whack the weak and infirm?


10 posted on 06/15/2011 1:33:47 PM PDT by Silentgypsy (You know if I don’t remember I’m gonna forget.)
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To: Silentgypsy

Nope, but if we did the average health of the group would increase.

That’s just a fact, the same as if we shoot all short people the average height of the survivors would go up, and if we kill everybody over 40 the average age of the population will drop considerably.

Doesn’t mean those who recognize these facts are proposing them as policies we should implement.

Similarly, a side effect of keeping alive those who would otherwise die is that the average health of the group drops.


11 posted on 06/15/2011 2:00:54 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: decimon
Stature and robusticity during the agricultural transition: Evidence from the bioarchaeological record.
12 posted on 06/17/2011 10:29:56 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: decimon; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

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Thanks Renfield for a similar link in FReepmail, and thanks decimon for the topic.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

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13 posted on 06/19/2011 7:32:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Sherman Logan
You must be one of those eeeeeeeevil republicans, advocating the elimination of the autistic, aged and little people....

*nully ducking and running for cover*

14 posted on 06/19/2011 8:23:45 AM PDT by null and void (Day 878. When your only tools are a Hammer & Sickle, everything looks like a Capitalist...)
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To: RadiationRomeo
Domestication of animals certainly did result in new diseases. We started catching diseases that the animals had, like TB and anthrax.

Keeping them in the living quarters didn't help, either...

15 posted on 06/19/2011 8:30:05 AM PDT by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: null and void

No, but it’s silly to pretend that keeping people alive, perhaps to reproduce, who would die in a “state of nature” doesn’t have effects on society and the human organism.

For one thing, it is very obvious that in advanced societies, particularly in Europe, the people we normally consider “successful” are far less likely to reproduce than the “unsuccessful.”

Without getting too far into eugenics mode, it’s pretty obvious that we’ve set up an anti-Darwinian “survival of the least fit” scenario. A recent book postulated that the dominance of England over the last 300 years was directly related to their middle and upper classes having a considerably higher rate of reproduction than the lower classes, unlike any other European society. As a result, middle and upper class attitudes and genes were pushed “down” into society, which made it more dynamic than the competition. Looking around our society, it appears we’re doing the reverse.

If one believes in Darwinism, or even in the laws of genetics, there is no way this will not have some impact on the average level of human intelligence, at least in those societies practicing it.

Successful people are a good deal more reproductive in this country than in Europe, but one need only drop by Walmart as opposed to an upscale mall to notice the rather dramatic disparity in number of children around. Over time, these disparities are IMPORTANT, but we aren’t even allowed to discuss them.


16 posted on 06/19/2011 8:40:12 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan
Steady there, I totally got it the first time.

Sometimes nully is incapable of not being a shit disturber...

17 posted on 06/19/2011 8:51:41 AM PDT by null and void (Day 878. When your only tools are a Hammer & Sickle, everything looks like a Capitalist...)
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To: null and void

In my own defense, I suspect FR is screwing up, or possibly under some kind of hack attack.


18 posted on 06/19/2011 9:03:39 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: null and void

In my own defense, I suspect FR is screwing up, or possibly under some kind of hack attack.


19 posted on 06/19/2011 9:03:47 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: null and void

In my own defense, I suspect FR is screwing up, or possibly under some kind of hack attack.


20 posted on 06/19/2011 9:03:50 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: null and void

In my own defense, I suspect FR is screwing up, or possibly under some kind of hack attack.


21 posted on 06/19/2011 9:03:54 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

You can say that again!

It took a dozen tries to post my last comment.


22 posted on 06/19/2011 9:19:19 AM PDT by null and void (Day 878. When your only tools are a Hammer & Sickle, everything looks like a Capitalist...)
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To: decimon

Moral: Eat more meat - humans need meat, it made us the creatures we are.


23 posted on 06/20/2011 3:13:31 AM PDT by ZULU (Lindsey Graham is a nanometrical pustule of pusillanimous putrescence)
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To: Sherman Logan

kinda like the movie Idiocracy?


24 posted on 06/20/2011 6:39:13 AM PDT by stefanbatory (Insert witty tagline here)
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To: SJSAMPLE
Or maybe the weak and infirm stopped STARVING?

That too. In a hunter/gatherer culture, you have to be fit enough to move with the tribe as it follows the herds.

One advantage with agriculture is it allows a square mile of land to support more people than hunting does. Having more men makes it easier to defend your territory, even if the average farmer is less physically fit than a hunter.

25 posted on 06/20/2011 6:46:46 AM PDT by PapaBear3625 ("It is only when we've lost everything, that we are free to do anything" -- Fight Club)
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To: stefanbatory

Haven’t seen it, so can’t say.

I am, however, continually amazed anew by those who claim they are believers in evolution but assume that humans are for some obscure reason not subject to survival of the fittest or the laws of genetics.

It is pretty comprehensively proven that raw intelligence is heritable in the range of 40% to 80%. Yet somehow we are supposed to believe that reproduction disproportionately by the less intelligent will have no effect on society.


26 posted on 06/20/2011 6:38:14 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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