#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 9°C Thursday 9 December 2021
Advertisement

Some of your ancestors were fat and some of your ancestors were thin

New research has shown our ancestors began to diversify earlier than we think.

Image: Ian Armstrong/Flickr

THE EARLIEST INCARNATION of man came with a range of different body types, new research has found.

Using tiny pieces of fossils to analyse the body sizes of humans 1.5 to 2.5 million years ago – it was found that diversification happened earlier than had previously been thought.

Weights of humans of the time varied by as much as 40 kg – with the lowest weight for remains found in South African caves 1.8 to 1.4 million years ago being just 32 kg – and the top weight for human ancestors found in Kenya 1.7 million years ago was 81 kg.

cambridge science study Source: University of Cambridge

Speaking about the findings, co-author of the study Dr Jay Stack from the University of Cambridge, said:

If someone asked you ‘are modern humans 6 foot tall and 70kg?’ you’d say ‘well some are, but many people aren’t,’ and what we’re starting to show is that this diversification happened really early in human evolution.

The researchers looked at humans fossils from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Georgia.

It was found that humans of the time ranged in size from 4 ft. 8 in. to around 6 ft. depending on the different regions.

Early movement

Another main takeaway from this information is that human beings may well have colonised Eurasia while still relatively small and lightweight – something that clashes with the traditional theory of how humans dispersed across the planet.

It had previously been thought that early man only began to spread away from Africa after the evolution to homo erectus had happened.

This is according to new information uncovered by researchers from the University of Cambridge in England and the University of Tübingen in Germany have shown that man’s evolution in size may not have been the driving factor behind the excursion into Europe.

Read: This mechanical exoskeleton could help take the effort out of walking

Also: Here’s the most beautiful man and woman in the world…

Read next:

COMMENTS (46)