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REPORT - Human Bone Density Drop Tied to Lifestyle Shift

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Below is a very insightful article from Discovery News about how modern lifestyle for humans may be causing conditions like osteoporosis. Get off the couch people!

 

Modern Human Bone Density Drop Tied to Lifestyle Shift

 

The relatively lightly built skeletons of modern humans developed late in evolutionary history, and may have been the result of a shift away from a nomadic lifestyle to a more settled one, according to a new study. Play Video Evolution Is Happening Right Before Your Eyes Evolution is happening in some species right now. DCI These findings may shed light on modern bone conditions such as osteoporosis, the scientists said. Bone is one of the strongest materials found in nature. Ounce for ounce, bone is stronger than steel, since a bar of steel of comparable size would weigh four or five times as much. In another comparison, a cubic inch of bone can in principle bear a load of 19,000 lbs. (8,620 kilograms) or more — roughly the weight of five standard pickup trucks — making it about four times as strong as concrete.

 

Still, modern humans have a relatively lightly built skeleton compared with those of chimpanzees — the closest living relatives of humans — as well with those of extinct human lineages. PHOTOS: Evolution Before Your Eyes "Throughout our skeleton, our joints are about three-quarters to one-half as dense as those of our early human ancestors and those of other modern primate species," study co-author Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, told Live Science. "That raises the question of when this happened in humans." Much remains uncertain about when this unique modern human feature evolved. To shed light on this mystery, scientists examined the density of trabecular, or spongy, bone throughout the skeleton of modern humans and chimpanzees, as well as fossils of extinct human lineages spanning several million years, including Australopithecus africanus, Paranthropus robustus, Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens.

 

"We initially suspected that a more gracile, lightly built skeleton might be a characteristic of modern humans in general, compared to Neanderthals or our ancestors," Richmond said. Instead, the researchers discovered that the arms and legs of recent modern humans are lightly built compared not only with other living primates and with extinct human species, but also with modern humans from before the present Holocene Epoch, which began about 12,000 years ago. Rather than shifting gradually over time, bone density remained high throughout the history of human evolution, until the appearance of recent modern humans, when it decreased dramatically.

 

Despite centuries of research on the human skeleton, this is the first study that shows that modern human skeletons have a substantially lower density in joints throughout the skeleton than compared to thei predecessors, Richmond said. "We've only discovered this now because our imaging technology is much higher-resolution than before, and is computationally capable of handling such images," he said...MORE HERE.

 

 

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