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Long-run trends in human body mass
Macroeconomic Dynamics , 11(3), 2007, pp.367-387
Abstract: Over the past two million years human body mass first increased and later declined, peaking about 50,000 years ago. This paper sets up a model of natural selection among body types to explain this pattern. Population, technology, and average body mass evolve endogenously and interdependently in such a way that a takeoff in technological progress generates rising population density and resource depletion. This in turn makes large bodies less useful in food procurement, while keeping their metabolism requirements high. The result is a shift in reproductive advantage from big to small bodies and an endogenous reversal of the time trend in body mass.
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