The monsters in our family tree

Scientists have discovered a startling fact — compared to our not-too-distant ancestors (5000 BC), we are weaklings. Or as one of the researchers said, “the people back then were monsters by comparison. what you see today is quite pathetic.”

skeletonBritish researchers examined human bones from time periods spanning 5300 BC through the present day. What they found was that the oldest of the bones were comparable to those of today’s elite athletes. The average guy of today wouldn’t stand a chance in one-on-one with the average prehistoric man. You can read the original scientific study here, or try these summary articles in Outside magazine or the Daily Mail.

Why were people so much stronger back then? Because their lifestyles demanded it. There was no agriculture. Food had to be foraged and hunted. The humans back then had to have the physical stamina to roam—and run—great distances, all the time.

With the invention of agriculture, obtaining food became much easier, so we didn’t have to work as hard as a result. And, some speculate that our diets became poorer as a result.

side by side

So what’s the main takeaway? If you plan on travelling back in time several thousand years, you’d better be well armed.

But what about the future? As our world becomes more mechanized, as the physical demands on our bodies lessen, will we shrivel even further?

(Image source: Daily Mail)

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