According to a new and interesting study recently published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, some of the ancient humans went through an evolutionary phase when they were tall and skinny. It reportedly happened about 1.5 million years ago. The main reason for this, experts say, is the fact that they were hunting in the African savannahs. This made their bodies change after leaving the forest habitats they were used to.
However, this doesn’t mean that the researchers weren’t surprised by the findings, which were based on hundreds of fossils. Some were as old as four million years. And even if the stature and build of the human ancestors didn’t change significantly over the years, there was an interesting phase about 1.5 million years ago. During it, hominins grew about 10 cm taller, but they didn’t gain any extra weight. After another one million years they finally put on 10 to 15 kilos.
Our ancestors were tall and skinny at one point
According to doctor Manuel Will, the leader of the project, because they only grew in stature, our ancestors also had longer legs and arms, a leaner physique and narrow shoulders and hips. This prompted the team to believe that the shift in appearance happened because the hominins changed their environment. Therefore, they needed to adapt to survive.
This new type of body would have helped them to run and chase animals for longer periods of time in dry heat. The sweat was evaporating quicker and they were able to survive in those conditions. They only gained weight after they moved to colder areas, to be protected from the low temperatures.
The experts said that humans from four million years ago only weighted 25 kilos and were about 4ft tall. As years passed, they grew taller and taller as nutrition became better. Even now, people are becoming increasingly taller because evolution is still active.
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