Navigation Links
Is there a Neanderthal in the house?
Date:2/15/2013

Bunions bothering you? How about lower back pain, or impacted wisdom teeth?

As we humans evolved over the millennia to walk on two legs, grow larger brains and shorter jaws, bear big babies and live longer, we've also experienced some negative consequences on our way to becoming the world's most successful primate, at nearly 7 billion strong.

But keeping our evolutionary history in mind can help us better deal with issues from obesity to difficult childbirth in a much more productive way, according to Karen Rosenberg, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Delaware.

Rosenberg co-organized and spoke on the "Scars of Human Evolution" panel at one of the largest scientific gatherings in the world--the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Friday, Feb. 15, in Boston.

The panel's title originated from a 1951 Scientific American article by Wilton Krogman that highlighted how our evolutionary history can account for many of the problems associated with the current human condition. Rosenberg and her co-panelists examined areas ranging from obstetrics and orthopedics, to dentistry, gerontology, diet and nutrition.

"We need to understand our evolutionary history in order to understand why we have some of the maladies that we have," Rosenberg says. "They either helped us in a previous environment, or they are trade-offs from adaptations that did confer important advantages like our obstetrical and orthopedic problems that are side effects of walking on two legs rather than four."

Today, the industrialized world faces rising obesity rates. Yet eons ago, food was scarce, and foraging was a constant activity to survive. The more fats and sugars that could be gained from food back then, the more energy to fuel those ever-expanding hominid brains.

The cavewoman of 100,000 years ago didn't have 10-pound babies, take drugs, smoke, or have hypertension, diabetes and other problems associated with a modern lifestyle, Rosenberg notes.

But, Rosenberg asserts, our prehistoric ancestors likely gave birth with others present for protection and encouragement, a practice still important in today's world where ever-larger babies squeeze through a "twisty-turny" birth canal, and infant mortality is still a serious problem in many nations.

"Studies show that women who give birth with a doula present to provide emotional support have significantly lower rates of obstetric intervention and shorter labors," Rosenberg notes. "This maternal care during birth and the help we give in caring for children of family and friends comprise some of the most important aspects of our humanness."

Although some may interpret the word "evolve" to mean we are moving toward perfection, Rosenberg reminds us that there is no direction to evolution.

"What's best today, probably won't be in the future," she says. "There's no inevitable directionality to it. Evolution is a tinkerer, not a designer. I would never be willing to predict where we will go next. Knowing what is advantageous in today's world doesn't tell us what will be advantageous in the future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrea Boyle Tippett
aboyle@udel.edu
302-831-1421
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Professor known for work with hunter-gatherers elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2. UGA study finds theres not always safety in numbers when it comes to extinction risk
3. Theres more star-stuff out there but its not dark matter
4. Feathered saurians -- downy dinosaur discovered
5. Overweight? Theres a vaccine for that
6. Why are there so many species of beetles and so few crocodiles?
7. Bumblebees do best where there is less pavement and more floral diversity
8. International study: Where theres smoke or smog, theres climate change
9. Cooperators can coexist with cheaters, as long as there is room to grow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Is there a Neanderthal in the house?
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator in ... the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified . ... that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises and ... 15 million users across the financial services industry, however ... suites and physical access represent a growing portion of ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... April 3, 2017  Data captured by ... platform, detected a statistically significant association between ... to treatment and objective response of cancer ... to predict whether cancer patients will respond ... as well as to improve both pre-infusion potency ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market ... (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein ... use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, ... others), and by region ( North America ... Pacific , and the Rest of the World) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/7/2017)... Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) , ... ... ... than 15 years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy ... the in-house expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel ... three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped ... the structural biology community. The winners worked with ... now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 06, 2017 ... ... Cure) will host a lunch discussion and webinar on INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive ... INSIGhT Principal Investigator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The event is free and open to ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... 05, 2017 , ... Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria that live ... You Are My Future, the newest exhibit on display at the University City Science ... condition through the lens of the gut microbiome. , Gut Love opens October ...
Breaking Biology Technology: