Posted 13 June 2011, by Talia Tolliver, Gather, technology.gather.com
Scientists at Cambridge University recently discovered that modern human’s reliance on agriculture has caused a decline in the size of our bodies, as well as a noticeably shrinking brain.
Overall, there is a 10-percent difference in the size of our bodies, with modern man weighing in at an average of 154 pounds and ancient remains indicating a body weight of between 175 and 182 pounds. At the same time our bodies grew smaller, our brain did too, shrinking from 1,500-cubic-centimeters in ancient times to 1,350-cubic-centimeters today, which is a loss equal to the size of a tennis ball.
Anthropologists believe a change in diet is the cause of our shrinking brain since man shifted from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to agriculture about 9,000 years ago, around the time that our brains were the largest. An increase in grains and starches and a decrease in protein in our diets are likely to blame since these changes often cause nutrient deficiencies.
Scientists at Cambridge studying the shift in brain size compared fossil samples of human remains from around the world, and found the shrinking brain occurred only in areas where agriculture became the main source of food.
Still, researchers are quick to point out that the size of our brain does not impact our intelligence, and a shrinking brain is nothing to worry about since smaller brains work more efficiently and use less energy.