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Thread: Farming may have led to more fragile bones page

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    Hedonist2's Avatar
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    Farming may have led to more fragile bones

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    Hunter-gatherer past shows our fragile bones result from inactivity since invention of farming -- ScienceDaily

    The researchers studied the bones of paleolithic hunter/gatherers from 7000 years ago and agriculturalists from 700 years ago, both in the same area of Illinois.

    The new study, published today in the journal PNAS, shows that, while human hunter-gatherers from around 7,000 years ago had bones comparable in strength to modern orangutans, farmers from the same area over 6,000 years later had significantly lighter and weaker bones that would have been more susceptible to breaking.

    Bone mass was around 20% higher in the foragers -- the equivalent to what an average person would lose after three months of weightlessness in space.

    After ruling out diet differences and changes in body size as possible causes, researchers have concluded that reductions in physical activity are the root cause of degradation in human bone strength across millennia. It is a trend that is reaching dangerous levels, they say, as people do less with their bodies today than ever before.

    Very interesting and supportive of the Paleo concept. But is hunting and gathering that much more strenuous than farming?
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    Energy!'s Avatar
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    Why did the researchers rule out dietary changes? I skimmed the article but it doesn't explain why they ruled out diet (to my satisfaction.)

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    Energy!'s Avatar
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    The article also doesn't say anything about gender...were the women's bones as different as the men's after agriculture was adopted? The premise of the article is that farming requires markedly less movement relative to hunting/gathering. Maybe farming was super-easy for some reason (which seems unlikely.) I still think a drastic change in diet would have an equally large effect on bone structure.

    I certainly agree that today's lifestyles are far too sedentary!

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    Mainer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Energy! View Post
    Why did the researchers rule out dietary changes? I skimmed the article but it doesn't explain why they ruled out diet (to my satisfaction.)
    Ditto, anything I can recall reading about HG groups vs AG groups was attributed to diet.
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    anything I can recall reading about HG groups vs AG groups was attributed to diet

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