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:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... 2016  There is much more to innovative access ... engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s solutions ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry and ... elements, the international technology company is opening up new ... "The integration of biometric elements brings our ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Market Research Future published a half cooked research ... Biometric Security and Service Market is expected to grow over the ... Market Highlights: ... Mobile Biometric Security and Service Market ... need of authentication and security from unwanted cyber threats. The increasing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/16/2017)... Jan. 16, 2017   Valentin A. Pavlov, PhD ... , president and CEO of The Feinstein Institute ... analysis of how the nervous system regulates the immune ... bioelectronic medicine devices to treat disease and ... Neuroscience . The paper examines various studies ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... , Jan. 16, 2017  Eurofins Genomics today ... will allow more customers to receive their primers in ... or compromise in quality found with other providers. Express ... United States at no additional fee. ... routine genetic studies, including DNA sequencing, genotyping, site-directed mutagenesis, ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... 13, 2017  The Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines ... FDA final guidance on biologic naming: ... in emphasizing the importance of distinct naming for all ... the benefits biosimilars will bring to patients, including new ... the portion of the Guidance dealing with suffix design ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Biopolymers Market ... ... 16.83% during the period 2017-2021. The report covers the ... 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated ... a a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: