Human Evolution and Obesity

Mon, 09 Oct 1995 17:55:41 GMT

I had a thought the other day, when a (body-building) friend of mine
was showing off about his muscular strength. I asked him if he could
support his own weight and hang from a support. He wasn't able to.
Being of much smaller stature myself, I could hang on the support

This friend is a rather heavy chap, because he weight-trains. But he
could equally have been very fat. If he had been a chimp, he would
have found it impossible become heavy either way, because chimps don't
really get fat (or brawny).

An ape which needed to spend much time in trees would have been in big
trouble if it couldn't support its own weight, so it would probably
not be genetically predisposed to putting on weight. An ape which
spent most of its time on the ground (or in water) might have been able
to get away with being a 100kg ape. So if we knew an ape was heavy, it
couldn't have spent much time in the trees.

Can we tell how heavy our ancestors were from the bone structure?
(sorry if this has been discussed before, I must have missed it).

David Chan (
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