Title

Anatomy and Climate-Related Variation in Hominins

Document Type

Encyclopedia Entry

Publication Date

2018

Department

Anthropology

Language

English

Publication Title

The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology

Abstract

Body size and proportions in modern humans and fossil Homo vary according to ecogeographic patterns as outlined by Bergmann's and Allen's rules. Body mass, intralimb proportions, and body width tend to vary by climate and latitude in many living and ancient modern human groups, including Neanderthals and Homo erectus fossils. Individuals with short and robust bodies tend to dwell in colder climates while individuals with longer and leaner bodies tend to dwell in warmer regions. Robust skeletons with short limbs in Neanderthals also indicate adaptations to high activity levels in addition to cold climates. Variation in facial anatomy in some hominins shows limited adherence to ecogeographic patterns but also likely the work of genetic drift. Recent scholarship identifies other evolutionary forces, including mutation, genetic drift, migration, and epigenetic and ontogenetic processes, as also shaping variation in body size and proportions in modern humans and fossil hominins.

Comments

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DOI

10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1743

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