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ILM
2014-11-28, 11:47 AM
I'm world-building a bit in my free time at the moment, and I'm trying to build a world according mostly to normal physics, but still allowing for magic, gods and Planes, basically.

I'm a bit stumped about the small races (Halflings and Gnomes). How do you explain them? What's the evolutionary benefit of being half as tall as everyone else?

Cazero
2014-11-28, 11:53 AM
The square cube law (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SquareCubeLaw), usually used to disprove giant mechas, can be applied in the other direction to state that small humanoids would spend less energy. If they don't need the reach size grants, it is an advantage in itself.

Milodiah
2014-11-28, 11:56 AM
A good part of it really boils down to the environment in which they evolved. I could see a case for jungles and very thick forests, where animals tend to be only as large as they need to be...and halfling racial traits especially seem to lend themselves to living in a jungle. The one thing that cannot be explained, though, is the fact that they live longer than humans. Personally I tweak the aging for them since on the whole smaller creatures have a shorter life-cycle than larger ones.

But whatever you do, don't make the mistake I just did and picture them as Ewoks. Cannot be unseen.

Broken Twin
2014-11-28, 11:57 AM
Well, one easy explanation would be that they developed in a dense area with a lot of predators (heavy rainforest, for instance). Being smaller would help them evade pursuers and and their lighter weight would help them navigate three dimensions easier (climbing trees, hiding in roots, etc).

Although really, physical size is probably the easiest to justify. Even among normal humans, our height ranges from people legally dwarfs (under 5ft), to people well over seven feet tall.

Jay R
2014-11-28, 12:02 PM
I'm world-building a bit in my free time at the moment, and I'm trying to build a world according mostly to normal physics, but still allowing for magic, gods and Planes, basically.

I'm a bit stumped about the small races (Halflings and Gnomes). How do you explain them? What's the evolutionary benefit of being half as tall as everyone else?

you don't have to justify it. It's simply not true that only large versions of anything survive. There are large canines and small canines. Not all cats are Bengal Tigers. There are tiny shrews and R.O.U.S.

But if you need justifications:

Halflings - sneakiness and hiding abilities.
Gnomes - tiny fingers can manipulate things better. That's why they became mechanically minded.
Kobolds: Fecundity. They breed faster than they are eaten.

Or some god created them as an experiment a few hundreds years ago, and they aren't stomped out yet.

Spiryt
2014-11-28, 12:04 PM
The one thing that cannot be explained, though, is the fact that they live longer than humans. Personally I tweak the aging for them since on the whole smaller creatures have a shorter life-cycle than larger ones.


I'm really not sure if there's any problem here, and very small humans living longer would actually have decent amount of sense.

http://wiki.small-and-tall.com/index.php?title=Physical_Size_and_Life_Expectancy

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071721/

Small size means less stress on joints, heart and cardio system in general, lungs, digestive tract, etc.


Tiny mammals tend to have extremely short lifespans indeed, but that's quite different matter, since those are mostly animals of completely different breeding strategies than primates.


Anyway, evolutionary reasons for being smaller are obviously numerous.

One doesn't even have to use only imagination, there are actual populations of very small homo sapiens living on Earth today.

Nerd-o-rama
2014-11-28, 12:08 PM
What's the evolutionary disadvantage to being shorter than humans? A large number of animals in nature do just fine without our size or, usually, opposable thumbs or tool use. What you have to remember is that evolution doesn't select for advantages nearly as much as it selects against disadvantages (since things with disadvantages get eaten), and a hominid three feet in height isn't going to be all that much worse off than a hominid six feet in height, although they will be adapted best to different environments.

As long as smaller species developed some specialization for hunting and gathering (stealth and coordination for halflings, endurance for gnomes, relative speed for goblins, etc.) and developed the social and intellectual capacity to band together against larger predators, there's no particular evolutionary need to be six feet tall on average.

Frozen_Feet
2014-11-28, 05:02 PM
Larger humans tend to be stronger, can see farther, can jump longer etc. However, when talking of non-humans, several assumptions go out the window. It's possible to be smaller than a grown human (shorter / less volume) while still be as heavy or heavier (proportionately more / denser muscle) and vastly stronger than a human even can be.

Nargrakhan
2014-11-28, 05:26 PM
What's the evolutionary disadvantage to being shorter than humans?


Larger humans tend to be stronger, can see farther, can jump longer etc.

Assuming the out-of-Africa theory and survival of the fittest, our height was...

* a major advantage for seeing over tall grass when fully standing.
* a major advantage for wading through rivers and lakes.
* a major advantage for long distance travelling (longer legs are longer strides).

Humans also possess -- at least on the real Earth -- one of the highest rate of persistent endurance within the animal kingdom. Other beasts can go faster than us for short bursts, but few could out endure the sheer distance humans could travel before giving up. Those few that could match us? Dogs and horses. Which would kinda explain why they were domesticated so early, if the theory is true. Taller human has greater lung capacity, which goes hand in hand with this train of thought.

***EDIT***
Oh yea! Just remembered this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis

Species of human that stood 3.5 feet tall. Tons of theories about how and why a society of humans were this short. Unfortunately none have survived into modern times... tons of theories on why they died out too.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-28, 06:03 PM
Insular dwarfism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insular_dwarfism). (C.f. Homo floresiensis, linked above.)

Wardog
2014-11-28, 06:11 PM
Greater surface area:mass ratio, so would gain and lose heat faster. Might be advantageous in a hot climate, if they could find shade to rest in when too hot.

Alternatively, they could do well in a cold environment, because it would be easier to find a hole to hid in or some other form of shelter.

(You get big and small animals in hot and cold climates - these two conflicting advantages/disadvantages affect how they live more than where they live).

Smaller humanoids would need less food. (Not necessarily proportionally less, as smaller animals tend to have faster metabolisms, but they should need less overall).

Small size (and hence light weight) would be useful in they lived in trees (or if their ancestors did so more recently than humans).

They live in an area populated by dragons or large predators. Hobbits are small, because the large ones all got eaten.

Starshade
2014-11-28, 06:44 PM
Just want to add, homo floresiensis appears to be, as far i know, proportionally smaller humanoids, not just a homo species with short feet. So, they would look somehow similar to a 3.5 halfling or the hobbits from the latest movies, not as short modern humans.
But, the flores "hobbits" too were not what we would call "modern humans", some scientists even doubt the find is genuinely an extinct hominid.

But anyway: they adapted on a island, maybe since food shortage did not fit well with being big, in an island with lots of animals with dwarf or miniature versions. Camouflage also could be a D&D reason, to hide well (gnomes). Or adaption to underground (Dwarf).

Jay R
2014-11-28, 08:36 PM
The largest dinosaurs are extinct. But chickens are still around. Size isn't the crucial consideration.

Nargrakhan
2014-11-28, 09:10 PM
The largest dinosaurs are extinct. But chickens are still around. Size isn't the crucial consideration.

In their defense, it wasn't their size that killed the dinosaurs. It was a gigantic rock from space. Our chance of survival -- and chickens -- from a Round 2 of that isn't so certain either. :smallwink:

Taet
2014-11-28, 09:28 PM
The first race was smallest. Humans and elves and other tall ones came later.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-28, 09:37 PM
The first race was smallest. Humans and elves and other tall ones came later.

That doesn't actually solve the problem; it just moves it around. Why did the tall ones evolve? Body size is only rarely going to be affected strongly by neutral evolution because the selective pressures involved are strict. Building more body means spending more energy and a smaller one means being at a disadvantage in fights.

Winter_Wolf
2014-11-29, 12:07 AM
If anything I'd think small races make more sense in a predator-heavy fantasy world, which brings up the question of why humans are such a populous race in a (generic) fantasy world.

Gnomes being small could be a function of spending so much time doing things with burrowing/mining and adapting for agility (vs. dwarves who'd adapted by becoming burly). Halflings would be more from being better at hiding in tall grasses/under trees/rocks to avoid getting preyed upon.

Y'know, if you simply had to have some kind of justification for their sizes. I mean, taking for example a colder northern climate in the real world, we have mice, rabbits, moose, musk oxen, beavers, mink, etc. They all have adapted in their own ways to survival and often coexist in the same habitats.

The Grue
2014-11-29, 01:11 AM
Although really, physical size is probably the easiest to justify. Even among normal humans, our height ranges from people legally dwarfs (under 5ft), to people well over seven feet tall.

Wait..."legally dwarfs"?

http://i.imgur.com/CQ4q0hG.gif

Jeff the Green
2014-11-29, 01:13 AM
If anything I'd think small races make more sense in a predator-heavy fantasy world, which brings up the question of why humans are such a populous race in a (generic) fantasy world.

Depends entirely on the predator. There are things that wouldn't go after a human but would find gnomes tempting, like coyotes, maned wolves, and bobcats. In the real world, unless you're as large and dangerous as a hippo you are food. In fantasy worlds this can be shortened to "you are food."

Slipperychicken
2014-11-29, 02:52 AM
Wait..."legally dwarfs"?

http://i.imgur.com/CQ4q0hG.gif

Anyone with an adult height under 4'10'' (147cm) is a dwarf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarfism) IRL.
EDIT: Just read the quote.



Q: What is the definition of dwarfism?

A: Little People of America (LPA) defines dwarfism as a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4'10" or shorter, (http://web.archive.org/web/20060516011550/http://www.lpaonline.org/resources_faq.html) among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-29, 03:01 AM
Anyone with an adult height under 4'10'' (147cm) is a dwarf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarfism) IRL.


Q: What is the definition of dwarfism?

A: Little People of America (LPA) defines dwarfism as
a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4'10" or shorter, (http://web.archive.org/web/20060516011550/http://www.lpaonline.org/resources_faq.html) among both men and women, although in some cases a person with a dwarfing condition may be slightly taller than that.

...that's not what that quote says. There are people who are that short without a medical or genetic condition (due to malnutrition as a child or just the normal genetics of height). Also, not a legal definition.

Slipperychicken
2014-11-29, 03:04 AM
...that's not what that quote says. There are people who are that short without a medical or genetic condition (due to malnutrition as a child or just the normal genetics of height). Also, not a legal definition.

I know, I just had to go through like 5 edits already, then got sick of it and figured you'd know what I meant.

Mark Hall
2014-11-29, 08:38 AM
Depends entirely on the predator. There are things that wouldn't go after a human but would find gnomes tempting, like coyotes, maned wolves, and bobcats. In the real world, unless you're as large and dangerous as a hippo you are food. In fantasy worlds this can be shortened to "you are food."

Sturm badgers, man, sturm badgers. Only defense is to poke them with sticks and tell them where some goblins are so they'll got those.

****in' sturm badgers.

paddyfool
2014-11-29, 09:46 AM
Some of these have been said before, but:
- hiding from big scary apex predators
- possible extraplanar origins (depending on setting, dwarves might originally come from a plane w slightly higher gravity, for instance)
- easier subterranean existence
- easier treetop existence (note that most primates are smaller than humans)
- either symbiotic relationship with any of a variety of other beings, especially medium-sized riding animals (the heavier goblins don't get to fly)
- less food needed in times of famine
- insular dwarfism
- a god/wizard did it
- some other party deliberately bred them that way (possibly a dragon in the case of kobolds)

DigoDragon
2014-11-29, 09:51 AM
If you live up on a high altitude, the air is thinner. Being smaller lowers your air requirement and so you'd do better than larger critters of your species.

Ettina
2014-11-29, 09:54 AM
In their defense, it wasn't their size that killed the dinosaurs. It was a gigantic rock from space. Our chance of survival -- and chickens -- from a Round 2 of that isn't so certain either. :smallwink:

Actually, it kind of was their size. After the K-T boundary, pretty much everything above a certain size was dead, and there were only little creatures left. So whatever killed the dinosaurs (and scientists aren't in agreement about it being an asteroid), it did selectively affect big creatures.

Ettina
2014-11-29, 10:01 AM
Also, regarding predation, some of the short races might not be at higher risk of predation. Dwarves in particular are stronger and tougher than humans, so even though they're shorter they'd be more difficult prey than humans. Kind of like warthogs - they're tough and strong and have nasty tusks, so even though they're one of the shorter species in the Serengeti, they're not easy prey. Cheetahs pretty much never go for warthogs, whereas they'll happily go for larger species like gazelles.

Dire Moose
2014-11-29, 10:01 AM
It's possible to be smaller than a grown human (shorter / less volume) while still be as heavy or heavier (proportionately more / denser muscle) and vastly stronger than a human even can be.

That would make a good explanation for dwarves, but I'm not sure how halfings and gnomes would fit that description.

Spiryt
2014-11-29, 10:09 AM
Also, regarding predation, some of the short races might not be at higher risk of predation. Dwarves in particular are stronger and tougher than humans, so even though they're shorter they'd be more difficult prey than humans. Kind of like warthogs - they're tough and strong and have nasty tusks, so even though they're one of the shorter species in the Serengeti, they're not easy prey. Cheetahs pretty much never go for warthogs, whereas they'll happily go for larger species like gazelles.

No gazelles I can find info about are larger than warthogs... In fact warthogs seem way larger.

Generally dwarves shouldn't really count here if we go by things like D&D at least, because they're mostly same size as humans, only differently built.

Though evolutionary reasons for humanoid built 'like chimpanzee only even more' instead more human-like would probably be interesting too.

paddyfool
2014-11-29, 10:19 AM
I like the high altitude theory :-)

In my next setting, gnomes might live mainly on high mountaintops or in flying machines, and be especially acclimatised to thin air. Maybe a bunch of people that locked themselves away from a dangerous outside world on a high plateau for thousands of years.

Halflings on an archipelago of islands (island dwarfism)

Dwarves could be altered by proximity to a portal to the plane of earth over a long period of time, which even slightly increased the local gravity.

Goblins could similarly be altered by proximity to a fire portal... turning them into constantly hungry, jumpy, angry little critters with super-high metabolisms. Maybe also a predilection for fire magic and things that go bang, to take them back to Tolkein.

Some kind of ratfolk that developed intelligence from a rodent base and stay out of sight could work.

And kobolds as a slave race bred by dragons. Maybe with a touch of incest / sorcery / a dragon breeding with some now-extinct species of small dogfolk. Or maybe dragons are like ants, laying two kinds of eggs - a few big dragon eggs, and many small kobold eggs, to guard them and serve them.

Mastikator
2014-11-29, 10:43 AM
That doesn't actually solve the problem; it just moves it around. Why did the tall ones evolve? Body size is only rarely going to be affected strongly by neutral evolution because the selective pressures involved are strict. Building more body means spending more energy and a smaller one means being at a disadvantage in fights.

Humans and elves lived in more open and cold environments making it important to be large. Halflings lived in jungles and some even started going underground to take advantage of their small stature, evolving into dwarves and gnomes that needed to be bulkier to deal with the cold and weight of dirt and rocks.
The other halflings moved out of the jungle into hills and were semi-subterranean.

Ettina
2014-11-29, 10:48 AM
No gazelles I can find info about are larger than warthogs... In fact warthogs seem way larger.

Generally dwarves shouldn't really count here if we go by things like D&D at least, because they're mostly same size as humans, only differently built.

Though evolutionary reasons for humanoid built 'like chimpanzee only even more' instead more human-like would probably be interesting too.

You judging by weight or height? Because yeah, warthogs are heavier than most gazelles, but they're certainly shorter than Thompson's gazelles or Grant's gazelles.

Spiryt
2014-11-29, 10:56 AM
You judging by weight or height? Because yeah, warthogs are heavier than most gazelles, but they're certainly shorter than Thompson's gazelles or Grant's gazelles.

By weight of course. Judging by height doesn't have much sense, especially between differently build animals.

Many average snakes can be easily over 2.5 meters long, but noone will call them big animals.

Especially in terms of cheetah predation - 100 pound gazelle is pretty vulnerable to cheetahs, 220 pound hog is not.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-29, 02:07 PM
Humans and elves lived in more open and cold environments making it important to be large. Halflings lived in jungles and some even started going underground to take advantage of their small stature, evolving into dwarves and gnomes that needed to be bulkier to deal with the cold and weight of dirt and rocks.
The other halflings moved out of the jungle into hills and were semi-subterranean.

Humans and elves—especially elves—would make more sense in hot climates. Cold climates lead to having a high mass, but being short and stocky. Dwarves work, though.

Kami2awa
2014-11-29, 02:35 PM
There was once a real-world small hominid species:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis#Hypotheses_of_origin

though their status as a distinct species is in dispute.

Raphite1
2014-11-29, 02:50 PM
In this thread: lots of pseudoscience nonsense and irrelevant factoids.

Humans are exceptionally huge animals, compared to the overall size distribution of mammal species. Even halflings would be significantly large animals. You don't need any special biological explanation for the size of smaller fantasy races, but you may want one for the larger races.

http://figshare.com/articles/_Frequency_distribution_of_maximum_species_body_si ze_for_Cenozoic_mammals_in_grey_overlaid_on_the_di stribution_for_extant_mammals_in_white_/192634

Jeff the Green
2014-11-29, 03:15 PM
In this thread: lots of pseudoscience nonsense and irrelevant factoids.

Humans are exceptionally huge animals, compared to the overall size distribution of mammal species. Even halflings would be significantly large animals. You don't need any special biological explanation for the size of smaller fantasy races, but you may want one for the larger races.

http://figshare.com/articles/_Frequency_distribution_of_maximum_species_body_si ze_for_Cenozoic_mammals_in_grey_overlaid_on_the_di stribution_for_extant_mammals_in_white_/192634

:smallsigh: No, you don't need a special explanation, but you do need an explanation. Body size has very strong selective pressure (usually stabilizing, but occasionally other forms) and body size is strongly related to niche. There is, for example, a reason there are few rodents larger than a mouse but a fair number of larger carnivores and primates.

Also, lots of speculation in this thread; not much pseudoscience. There's a very large difference.

Mastikator
2014-11-29, 03:43 PM
Humans and elves—especially elves—would make more sense in hot climates. Cold climates lead to having a high mass, but being short and stocky. Dwarves work, though.

Cold climates like living inside a mountain?

VeliciaL
2014-11-29, 05:34 PM
Cold climates like living inside a mountain?

Cold climates might lead to living inside a mountain.

Jay R
2014-11-29, 09:58 PM
I'm world-building a bit in my free time at the moment, and I'm trying to build a world according mostly to normal physics, but still allowing for magic, gods and Planes, basically.

I'm a bit stumped about the small races (Halflings and Gnomes). How do you explain them? What's the evolutionary benefit of being half as tall as everyone else?

Chimpanzees live in the same jungle as gorillas. Mice thrive in the same cities as rats. Coyotes have done much better than wolves in North America.

There is nothing to explain.

Frozen_Feet
2014-11-30, 01:11 PM
Cold climates like living inside a mountain?


Cold climates might lead to living inside a mountain.

Yeah. It sounds counterintuitive, but underground isn't automatically colder. Ground both stores and insulates heat. Underground environments are characterized by more even temperature than the surface. These are the reason why small animals live their winters in burrows.

Incidentally, dwarves as a northern offshoot of humanity akin to Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis makes a lot of sense.

VeliciaL
2014-11-30, 02:02 PM
Yeah. It sounds counterintuitive, but underground isn't automatically colder. Ground both stores and insulates heat. Underground environments are characterized by more even temperature than the surface. These are the reason why small animals live their winters in burrows.

Incidentally, dwarves as a northern offshoot of humanity akin to Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis makes a lot of sense.

Largely my thoughts; an inhospitable mountain climate might very well lead to burrowing.

I actually have a low fantasy (ish) setting mulling around in my head where most of the "humanoid" races are homonid offshoots related to humans.*

* Not my original idea, mind; found it in a thread in the homebrew forum and thought it sounded really cool.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-30, 02:08 PM
Chimpanzees live in the same jungle as gorillas. Mice thrive in the same cities as rats. Coyotes have done much better than wolves in North America.

There is nothing to explain.

It seems to me like someone addressed this a couple posts ago.

Ah, here it is:

:smallsigh: No, you don't need a special explanation, but you do need an explanation. Body size has very strong selective pressure (usually stabilizing, but occasionally other forms) and body size is strongly related to niche. There is, for example, a reason there are few rodents larger than a mouse but a fair number of larger carnivores and primates.

TheCountAlucard
2014-11-30, 02:58 PM
Largely my thoughts; an inhospitable mountain climate might very well lead to burrowing.

I actually have a low fantasy (ish) setting mulling around in my head where most of the "humanoid" races are homonid offshoots related to humans.*So basically the dwarves, gnomes, and trolls (but very specifically not the elves) from Terry Brooks' Shannara series?

VeliciaL
2014-11-30, 04:33 PM
So basically the dwarves, gnomes, and trolls (but very specifically not the elves) from Terry Brooks' Shannara series?

I haven't read Shannara, but sorta I guess? Halflings, Dwarves, Orcs, Gnomes, and even Elves. :smalltongue:

Haven't decided what I'm doing about Trolls yet.

veti
2014-11-30, 05:05 PM
Many dinosaurs were a lot bigger than any modern land animals. They're extinct.

Mammoths were bigger than elephants. They're extinct.

A Bengal tiger is a lot bigger than a Burmese cat. Guess which of these is endangered?

Neanderthals were, on average, significantly larger than contemporary Cro-Magnon humans. They're... gone.

Small size is an evolutionary advantage in many ways. It's easier to create and take shelter. It's easier to hide and stalk prey. A shorter lifespan means faster growth, which means you can spread into new niches (both geographical and ecological) before your larger competitors have time to.

Most importantly, though - because you eat less, you need less land to support you. Which means you can form larger communities, your social skills and instincts will be more highly developed, co-operation will come as much more natural to you. (See: ants, bees, for extreme examples, but slightly more relevant comparison points might be rabbits, meerkats.)

This, more than anything else - as far as anyone can make out - is what did for the Neanderthals. Cro-Magnon tribes were larger, simply because the individual people within them were smaller.

Frozen_Feet
2014-11-30, 05:11 PM
I'm actually fairly sure cro-magnons were taller than neanderthals. What neanderthals did have, was more robust and hence more energy-consuming musculature.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-30, 05:15 PM
Many dinosaurs were a lot bigger than any modern land animals. They're extinct.

Mammoths were bigger than elephants. They're extinct.

A Bengal tiger is a lot bigger than a Burmese cat. Guess which of these is endangered?

Neanderthals were, on average, significantly larger than contemporary Cro-Magnon humans. They're... gone.

Small size is an evolutionary advantage in many ways. It's easier to create and take shelter. It's easier to hide and stalk prey. A shorter lifespan means faster growth, which means you can spread into new niches (both geographical and ecological) before your larger competitors have time to.

Most importantly, though - because you eat less, you need less land to support you. Which means you can form larger communities, your social skills and instincts will be more highly developed, co-operation will come as much more natural to you. (See: ants, bees, for extreme examples, but slightly more relevant comparison points might be rabbits, meerkats.)

This, more than anything else - as far as anyone can make out - is what did for the Neanderthals. Cro-Magnon tribes were larger, simply because the individual people within them were smaller.

You're cherry-picking. I can list ten times that number of extinct things that were smaller than a chicken. Any size can confer an evolutionary advantage. For example, prior to guns elephants' size basically made them immune to predation once they reached adolescence.

(Also, Neanderthals weren't bigger, they were more robust. On average they were ~4 inches shorter.)

Spiryt
2014-11-30, 05:23 PM
If Wikipedia is anything to go by, Neanderthals were pretty much the same size as we are, only quite differently build.

Visibly shorter but also visibly broader and thicker skeletons.

Of course, it hugely depends on what this '~ 77kg' actually means, how it's estimated, and how large were homo sapiens were in similar conditions.


robust and hence more energy-consuming musculature.

Is there any data here?

Large amounts of muscle mass are no doubt very resource consuming, but is there anything actually suggesting more muscle mass for given weight?

veti
2014-11-30, 06:57 PM
I'm actually fairly sure cro-magnons were taller than neanderthals. What neanderthals did have, was more robust and hence more energy-consuming musculature.

You're right, I stand corrected. But the point about social co-operation among people who live closer together remains.


You're cherry-picking. I can list ten times that number of extinct things that were smaller than a chicken. Any size can confer an evolutionary advantage. For example, prior to guns elephants' size basically made them immune to predation once they reached adolescence.

Yes, of course countless smaller species have gone extinct too. But my point is, the larger species have gone and not been replaced. There is no land animal today, or even within recorded history, that comes even remotely close to the size of a sauropod. Animals like the kodiak bear, komodo dragon, Bengal tiger, orang-utan, mountain gorilla, elephant, rhino - all show that large size is possible to achieve, but hard to sustain - all these animals lived in a very tightly limited habitat, even before humans started to seriously erode their territory.

Smaller animals (like the fox, rabbit, wallaby, possum, mink, many small birds, and of course rats) have been introduced by humans to new territories, and thrived in wild populations. Larger ones - have seldom successfully spread beyond farms and zoos. Consider the ostrich, for instance - there are many places in the world where ostriches are farmed, but have they ever established a permanent wild population outside Africa? Not that I know of.

Frozen_Feet
2014-11-30, 07:17 PM
If Wikipedia is anything to go by, Neanderthals were pretty much the same size as we are, only quite differently build.

Visibly shorter but also visibly broader and thicker skeletons.

Of course, it hugely depends on what this '~ 77kg' actually means, how it's estimated, and how large were homo sapiens were in similar conditions.



Is there any data here?

Large amounts of muscle mass are no doubt very resource consuming, but is there anything actually suggesting more muscle mass for given weight?

Given height is what you'd be more concerned with, and it's pretty much all gone over in the wikipedia article and the anatomy subpage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_anatomy).

EDIT: to give you an idea of what "77 kilos" means, with height of 168 cm it would mean a BMI of 27.28 for a Homo Sapiens Sapiens. This is well past "normal" and towards the upper bounds of "mildly fat", indicating considerable bulk in either muscle or fat. A human like this would look like a strongman... or a stereotypical fantasy dwarf.

Nargrakhan
2014-11-30, 08:20 PM
But my point is, the larger species have gone and not been replaced. There is no land animal today, or even within recorded history, that comes even remotely close to the size of a sauropod.

Isn't the cause of this situation a topic of major discussion in the science community? I remember reading somewhere that the lack of giant insects and mega sized ferns is the cornerstone to a hypothesis explaining the lack of dominant megafauna is due to climatic or atmospheric changes since the dinosaurs ruled Earth. Something along the lines of oxygen levels and global temperature IIRC.

Jeff the Green
2014-11-30, 08:38 PM
Isn't the cause of this situation a topic of major discussion in the science community? I remember reading somewhere that the lack of giant insects and mega sized ferns is the cornerstone to a hypothesis explaining the lack of dominant megafauna is due to climatic or atmospheric changes since the dinosaurs ruled Earth. Something along the lines of oxygen levels and global temperature IIRC.

Yeah, there's a lot of debate. Big creatures are probably going to be more specialized and more vulnerable to climate change (the last 10,000 have been pretty chaotic). They also have longer generation times and so adapt/recover from busts more slowly. On the other hand, they're usually K-selected and aren't as susceptible to random busts, they're unlikely to have problems with introduced predators, and deal with small-scale disruptions much better.

It's pretty much consensus that the proximate cause of the disappearance of megafauna just about everywhere 10 kya was human hunting, though.

Spiryt
2014-12-01, 06:28 AM
Given height is what you'd be more concerned with, and it's pretty much all gone over in the wikipedia article and the anatomy subpage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_anatomy).

EDIT: to give you an idea of what "77 kilos" means, with height of 168 cm it would mean a BMI of 27.28 for a Homo Sapiens Sapiens. This is well past "normal" and towards the upper bounds of "mildly fat", indicating considerable bulk in either muscle or fat. A human like this would look like a strongman... or a stereotypical fantasy dwarf.

Well, no, not at all. BMI? Seriously?

The fact that they were shorter alone gives absolutely no indication that they had more muscle or fat mass.

From the article you linked:

-Considerably more robust, stronger build
-Long collar bones, wider shoulders
-Barrel-shaped rib cage
-Large kneecaps

This with every skeleton reconstruction, shows that large amount of their bones were way more robust, thicker, some of them straight out longer too (particularly ribs, to form that protruding barrel chest).

In short, skeleton that would weight about the same or even more than skeleton of ~178 cm sapiens.

Resulting in no need for any additional amount of other tissues for the same mass.

AMFV
2014-12-01, 06:47 AM
Well, no, not at all. BMI? Seriously?

The fact that they were shorter alone gives absolutely no indication that they had more muscle or fat mass.

From the article you linked:

-Considerably more robust, stronger build
-Long collar bones, wider shoulders
-Barrel-shaped rib cage
-Large kneecaps

This with every skeleton reconstruction, shows that large amount of their bones were way more robust, thicker, some of them straight out longer too (particularly ribs, to form that protruding barrel chest).

In short, skeleton that would weight about the same or even more than skeleton of ~178 cm sapiens.

Resulting in no need for any additional amount of other tissues for the same mass.

You are mistaken. Bone structures expand to accommodate larger muscle. It's how archaeologists can tell when agriculture started to be more of a thing as opposed to hunter-gathering. Well, that and teeth.

Spiryt
2014-12-01, 07:20 AM
You are mistaken. Bone structures expand to accommodate larger muscle. It's how archaeologists can tell when agriculture started to be more of a thing as opposed to hunter-gathering. Well, that and teeth.

Yes, given well preserved skeleton, archaeologists (or rather anthropologists, or even more specialized people, really) can try to guess how musculature of given animal looked like.

Or at least tendons and other structures accommodating muscles.

Dunno what it, together with agriculture has to do with topic though.

The point is that from those Neanderthal description one cannot really tell much about their muscles.

Differences are noted in bones shape and size, nothing about theoretical soft tissue.

ILM
2014-12-01, 07:52 AM
Well, I'm thrilled to have such an active discussion! I was kind of worried I'd get 47 views and zero replies for a topic like this :smallbiggrin:.

So the points about the evolutionary advantages of small size are well taken. Those about the advantages of taller sizes too. But then, why are humans so big? I mean, if being small is where it’s at, in terms of body heat regulation and food requirements, and stealth from predators and so on (and I get that long legs make hunting easier, but we’ve been hunter-gatherers for upwards of 1.5 million years now), then why aren’t we smaller? Did something prevent that from happening?

Spiryt
2014-12-01, 08:14 AM
So the points about the evolutionary advantages of small size are well taken. Those about the advantages of taller sizes too. But then, why are humans so big? I mean, if being small is where it’s at, in terms of body heat regulation and food requirements, and stealth from predators and so on (and I get that long legs make hunting easier, but we’ve been hunter-gatherers for upwards of 1.5 million years now), then why aren’t we smaller? Did something prevent that from happening?

Not sure if we can call humans 'big' though.

In fact size is very comparable to all other hominidae, except most of gorillas and some orangutans, which are actually way bigger.

Which suggest that this ended up being somehow 'good' size for such apes.

Humans are also pretty much fully bipedal which gives them some advantages discussed by biologists.

One of them mentioned more often is elevation of head and thus large field of vision.

Being utter twig likely wasn't advantageous either, so besides being tall humans kept being pretty big all around.

Nargrakhan
2014-12-01, 08:32 AM
Humans and elves lived in more open and cold environments making it important to be large. Halflings lived in jungles and some even started going underground to take advantage of their small stature, evolving into dwarves and gnomes that needed to be bulkier to deal with the cold and weight of dirt and rocks.
The other halflings moved out of the jungle into hills and were semi-subterranean.

I like this. Humans being the "versatile" race of DnD, it would fit they were the "genetic base" for the other major humanoid races. Since humans and elves can have offspring, it's easy to connect that the two races somehow share evolutionary ancestry (you could throw in the orcs too). Given there's a possibility it really happened on Earth (homo floresiensis), make halflings a divergent line from humans. As Mastikator suggests, out of halflings came the dwarves and gnomes when some of them went into the mountains and underground.

In prehistoric days, the races didn't live on the same continent, the shorter races did their thing with island dwarfism on a small isolated place. Once civilization started, the races begin migration across the campaign continent (perhaps via magic, precursor empires, divine intervention, etc), thus making their distribution as common as required for the setting background.

***EDIT***
Could even make it that higher levels or more unstable magic conditions in the prehistoric past, increased genetic mutability among creatures, thus giving the world such incredibly diverse and weird monster species. As magic settled into it's current state, the racial lines locked into their present status. That kind of background could even leverage cultists/religions that wanna revert the world back to such a chaotic age.

Frozen_Feet
2014-12-01, 10:05 AM
This with every skeleton reconstruction, shows that large amount of their bones were way more robust, thicker, some of them straight out longer too (particularly ribs, to form that protruding barrel chest).

In short, skeleton that would weight about the same or even more than skeleton of ~178 cm sapiens.

Resulting in no need for any additional amount of other tissues for the same mass.

Wrong. Bone is not heavy enough to account for the whole difference. As AMFV noted, larger bones exist to support more mass. Majority of the mass difference would've come from soft tissue.

Spiryt
2014-12-01, 11:05 AM
Wrong. Bone is not heavy enough to account for the whole difference. As AMFV noted, larger bones exist to support more mass. Majority of the mass difference would've come from soft tissue.

What 'bone is not heavy enough' means? :smallconfused:

The point seems to be that since homo sapiens were taller, then their skeleton weight more, so in comparison, Neanderthals need more muscle and fat to weight the same.

So why are homo sapiens bones 'heavy enough' to make the difference, but not the other way around? :smalltongue:

Just do not compute.


We assume height of our Neanderthal to be 166 cm. Compare him to 184 cm tall human.

Without about ~20 cm skull it's 146 to 164.

General frame of human is 12% longer, we can call it very crude difference of length/height of skeleton.

When the average 'width' or thickness of the whole system will be greater by those 12% the general volume of bones will be the same.

If they're both greater just by 6% results are still the same.

It could mean thicker/wider flat bones, greater radius of round bones, greater length of bones spanning wide/deep - like mentioned collar bones, pelvis and ribs, etc. Many possibilities.




Of course I can be very wrong, but you have to show me data saying so.

As in, complete skeleton of Neanderthal not being visibly heavier than 'average' skeleton of human of similar height.

Right now you're telling me that skeleton with more robust bones and joints won't be heavier 'enough' which just doesn't make sense. Especially that bone is actually far heavier than pretty much anything else in human body.

There are huge enough differences in skeletal weight between 2 humans of the same height and 'race', without need of going into another (sub)species.

Inevitability
2014-12-01, 01:51 PM
I have no idea if someone posted this before, but ever heard of Dwarf Elephants? They are a now-extinct species of elephants which lived on several small islands. They evolved from normal-sized ones because of not having any natural predators (which a large body would help defend against) or large amounts of available food (which a large body would need).

Jeff the Green
2014-12-01, 02:11 PM
I have no idea if someone posted this before, but ever heard of Dwarf Elephants? They are a now-extinct species of elephants which lived on several small islands. They evolved from normal-sized ones because of not having any natural predators (which a large body would help defend against) or large amounts of available food (which a large body would need).

Not specifically, but I did point out island dwarfism on the first page and someone else mentioned Homo floresiensis even before me.

Frozen_Feet
2014-12-02, 02:18 AM
What 'bone is not heavy enough' means? :smallconfused:

The point seems to be that since homo sapiens were taller, then their skeleton weight more, so in comparison, Neanderthals need more muscle and fat to weight the same.

So why are homo sapiens bones 'heavy enough' to make the difference, but not the other way around? :smalltongue:

Just do not compute.

That's because you chose the wrong comparison point. You should've compared a neanderthal skeleton with a sapiens skeleton of the same height. I noted this in the very beginning. The average weight of a 166 centimeter human is much smaller than 77 kg. This difference is not, and cannot, be made up by just the differences in bone structure. It must come from soft tissue.

The basis for assuming Neanderthals were stronger for given height is because they must've had a lot more of fat, muscle or both.

Spiryt
2014-12-02, 05:02 AM
That's because you chose the wrong comparison point. You should've compared a neanderthal skeleton with a sapiens skeleton of the same height. I noted this in the very beginning. The average weight of a 166 centimeter human is much smaller than 77 kg. This difference is not, and cannot, be made up by just the differences in bone structure. It must come from soft tissue.

The basis for assuming Neanderthals were stronger for given height is because they must've had a lot more of fat, muscle or both.

Yes, you keep saying that, with absolutely no proof or argument for why the bone structure/skeleton cannot weight the same as in human.

Never claimed that difference will be made only by bone, and not soft tissue, those are closely connected, or at least muscle and bone are.

The point is that yes, it's entirely and completely possible for 77kg human male and 77kg Neanderthal male to have very, to completely, similar bone mass.

Say, 15% (11.5)kg for skeleton, 50% (38.5kg) for muscle and 20% (15,4kg) for fat - for fairly typical values leaving about 11.5 kg for blood and intensives. Of course blood in particular will 'intertwine' with everything, especially muscle, leaving those percentages very sketchy, but decent enough.

Your 'average' slim, non athlete 166 cm human male is very unlikely to weigh more than 60kg, thus his skeleton will likely weigh only ~ 9 kg. Everything else is proportionally smaller as well.

So much smaller being, while of the same height as Neanderthal, mainly due to fact that his skeleton is much more gracile, despite being the same length.

We obviously can very easily find much more 'neanderthaly' proportioned actual human being though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iván_Cambar

http://img.spokeo.com/public/900-600/ivan_cambar_2007_07_16.jpg

Only 163 not even 166, and 77kg (likely significantly more actually, at that level he certainly dehydrates himself before weight in).


Obviously top level power-lifter, so those proportions of his will be skewed in favor of muscle % of course, but not nearly enough either.

His not built anyway close to bodybuilder and his skeleton will likely weight about the same as average male - due to accident of birth and years of rigorous weightlifting.

Despite being good 1/2 feet shorter than average.




To keep it maximally short - you've provided no evidence that Neanderthal skeletons were actually smaller and not differently proportioned.

With 'soft tissue' being 'differently proportioned' as well, of course, due to very different points of attachments and angles.

Frozen_Feet
2014-12-02, 06:16 AM
Uh, you're arguing almost completely past me at this point and answering your own question of "how can we know neanderthals were stronger for given size than sapiens?".

We know it, because the skeletons of neanderthals suggest a build and musculature similar to people like Ivan Cambar - people with their morphology and bodymass composition skewed towards strenght and having more muscle. Muscle and bone are denser than fat and other structures, so for given height and weight, a person with such a body will actually have smaller body volume (size). This also makes them proportionately stronger, because more of their body is capable of active work.

This is what I was trying to draw your attention to in the first place by the BMI comparison.

Spiryt
2014-12-02, 06:44 AM
Uh, you're arguing almost completely past me at this point and answering your own question of "how can we know neanderthals were stronger for given size than sapiens?".

We know it, because the skeletons of neanderthals suggest a build and musculature similar to people like Ivan Cambar - people with their morphology and bodymass composition skewed towards strenght and having more muscle. Muscle and bone are denser than fat and other structures, so for given height and weight, a person with such a body will actually have smaller body volume (size). This also makes them proportionately stronger, because more of their body is capable of active work.

This is what I was trying to draw your attention to in the first place by the BMI comparison.

The question was not if they were 'stronger', at least I have never even started arguing it.

Everything was about size.


And I've still seen nothing indicating that Neanderthals had significantly more muscle mass compared to modern humans, thus we cannot draw conclusions that they 'more body capable of work'.

Also, Cambar will actually have way MORE volume than Average 190cm Tall Skinny Joe, precisely because muscle are way less dense than bone.

Our theoretical Neanderthal will have the same volume as human of same weight, due to same composition.

That was the point all along.

Jacob.Tyr
2014-12-02, 08:48 AM
The question was not if they were 'stronger', at least I have never even started arguing it.

Everything was about size.


And I've still seen nothing indicating that Neanderthals had significantly more muscle mass compared to modern humans, thus we cannot draw conclusions that they 'more body capable of work'.

Also, Cambar will actually have way MORE volume than Average 190cm Tall Skinny Joe, precisely because muscle are way less dense than bone.

Our theoretical Neanderthal will have the same volume as human of same weight, due to same composition.

That was the point all along.

As someone who is not an anthropologist or paleontologist, I sort of have to accept their take on these body reconstructions. Briefly, they appear to have had slightly higher weight/volume ratios than modern humans, when compared to North American populations (US and Canada).

Though, personally, I can't really accept that they are a separate species based on the amount of evidence for introgression into modern humans.


Just stick your halflings somewhere similar to a place you'd expect to find shorter humans. Tropical with dense vegetation. Being small is good for dumping heat, being larger is better for retaining it. Picture someone who lives in the Amazon and someone who lives in Scandinavia.

Frozen_Feet
2014-12-02, 10:34 AM
Our theoretical Neanderthal will have the same volume as human of same weight, due to same composition.


Spiryt, this debate has come a full circle, with you contradicting yourself.

Bone is denser than other tissues. You yourself have said and accepted this.

Muscle is denser than fat, connective tissues, intestines and liquids. Compared to adipose tissue, it's about 17% heavier (1,06 g / ml versus 0,9 g / ml).

Hominids of robust morphology are built for strenght. This means they have proportionately more bone and muscle tissue than gracile hominids. This means they have less other tissues for same weight.

If you have two objects of similar weight but one is denser than the other, the denser object will have less volume.

Even your "Cambar has more volume than Lanky Joe" argument is flawed. It's not impossible for a 190 cm skinny person to have less volume than a 163 cm robust person, but you'll spot the flaw fairly easily if you just assume average body composition (45% muscle, 25% fat) and the same 77 kg weight for Joe (77 kg is towards the lower end of "normal" for a person of such height, so it fits "skinny" well enough). He'll actually end up having 6 ½ decilitres greater volume than your Cambar estimate.

As far as your cries of evidence go, I'll sadly have to note that the link to BBC Wikipedia has on its Neanderthal anatomy sub-page is no longer working. But you might be able to trace down their sources through Google or the discussion page. Seriously, though, the Wikipedia articles have all the references you'll need to find all relevant evidence.

Spiryt
2014-12-02, 11:25 AM
I'm not contradicting myself at all, I'm operating purely with what I'm given, without speculations.



Muscle is denser than fat, connective tissues, intestines and liquids. Compared to adipose tissue, it's about 17% heavier (1,06 g / ml versus 0,9 g / ml).
Hominids of robust morphology are built for strenght. This means they have proportionately more bone and muscle tissue than gracile hominids. This means they have less other tissues for same weight.

Except that with 'more' bones and muscle there's really not enough weight left for 'other tissues'.

While heavy muscles in particular require strong 'support' so it's not like they can exist with lungs, liver, blood being 'proportionally' much smaller.

So it's more accurate to say that robust hominids are simply bigger, on average, than gracile ones. Without any 'proportions' combinations. More muscle and more bone, more blood, bigger heart lungs, etc for all those fancy muscles.

This is, anyway where you contradict yourself, because you were claiming that Neanderthals needed to have 'more muscle and fat'.

That they could have more 'bone' (or actually jsut about same amount) was my point - see my final sentence.



If you have two objects of similar weight but one is denser than the other, the denser object will have less volume.

Of course, and if one dude has huge amount of muscle, and the other is mostly built out of 'necessities' like bones and internal organs, the muscled one will have slightly more volume.



Even your "Cambar has more volume than Lanky Joe" argument is flawed. It's not impossible for a 190 cm skinny person to have less volume than a 163 cm robust person, but you'll spot the flaw fairly easily if you just assume average body composition (45% muscle, 25% fat) and the same 77 kg weight for Joe (77 kg is towards the lower end of "normal" for a person of such height, so it fits "skinny" well enough). He'll actually end up having 6 ½ decilitres greater volume than your Cambar estimate.

The problem here is that 45% of muscle and 25% fat is not exactly average body composition.

And, more importantly, it has no chance of fitting 'Lanky' part.

45% muscle is average, and 25% BF is usually very and visibly pudgy.

So yeah, if you make that guy much fatter than Cambar, who's likely bit under ~10% BF, then yeah, he will have bigger volume cause fat is 'light'.

My point was exactly that by your volume definition of size, some dude like this:

http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=130075723

Will be actually smaller than Cambar, beacuse very dense bone will form way greater portion of his mass.

Nothing close to 25% fat here, very minimal muscle.

Most people will of course all in all call him way 'bigger' than Cambar, likely




Seriously, though, the Wikipedia articles have all the references you'll need to find all relevant evidence.

Yes, Wikipedia and all other 'quick links' are all about bones. Nothing more precise about muscles than:

"Their bones are thick and heavy, robust, stout etc."

So again, assuming bigger muscle mass proportion is not justified .


All data only suggest short, but just as big skeletons

I can't state it any simpler.

Wardog
2014-12-02, 01:16 PM
Well, I'm thrilled to have such an active discussion! I was kind of worried I'd get 47 views and zero replies for a topic like this :smallbiggrin:.

So the points about the evolutionary advantages of small size are well taken. Those about the advantages of taller sizes too. But then, why are humans so big? I mean, if being small is where it’s at, in terms of body heat regulation and food requirements, and stealth from predators and so on (and I get that long legs make hunting easier, but we’ve been hunter-gatherers for upwards of 1.5 million years now), then why aren’t we smaller? Did something prevent that from happening?

I don't the answer in the case of humans.

More generally though, large size does have advantages in terms of e.g. fighting ability (useful for killing prey, defending against predators, and beating rivals in fights over mates and territory).

It is, though, something of an evolutionary "specialization", given that it also comes with various disadvantages already discussed.

Generally, "specialists" are more less likely (than generalists) to get displaced from their ecological niche by another species, but more likely to go extinct if the niche disappears. Big animals therefore tend to be the ones that go extinct first when the environment changes (for example), but then when whatever caused that extinction passes, something else can rapidly evolve to fill that niche. (E.g. tyrannosaurs replacing allosaurs as the big mother-hugging predators of the Mesozoic).

As a hypothetical example: an unusually large coyote probably wouldn't do to well, as it would essentially be an inferior wolf. It would need more food than a regular coyote, buy wouldn't be able to compete with a wolf at doing wolf things. But if wolves disappeared (and then whatever killed the wolves also disappeared), then the large coyotes could start doing wolf-things, and any larger descendedents could do them even better, until you end up with a Wolf MkII.

In the case of humans, I guess we found a niche ("large bipedal tool-using, fire-wielding primate") that hasn't disappeared yet, and which we do well enough at that nothing is likely to displace us from.

Solaris
2014-12-03, 08:48 AM
Incidentally, dwarves as a northern offshoot of humanity akin to Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis makes a lot of sense.

I've used this one, and my fiancee (independently) had assumed that Neanderthals were the origins of dwarves.


Yes, Wikipedia and all other 'quick links' are all about bones. Nothing more precise about muscles than:

"Their bones are thick and heavy, robust, stout etc."

So again, assuming bigger muscle mass proportion is not justified .


All data only suggest short, but just as big skeletons

I can't state it any simpler.

Not only do robust bones come with a similarly robust musculature (refer to similarly robust extant primates and compare the skeletons of humans with those of gorillas), but by examining the attachment points of Neanderthal skeletons, paleontologists have determined that their musculature is significantly greater than a modern human's. In point of fact, one of the leading theories on their extinction hinges on this - they died out because their caloric requirements were about twice those of modern humans, and thus they couldn't compete against H. s. sapiens in the long run.

Obese humans are not 'big-boned'; only humans with extensive and abnormally excessive muscular development have robust bones.

Your supposition requires that Neanderthal anatomy be significantly different from modern primates. Therefore, you need a stronger argument than a supposed lack of evidence. You need to, in order to prove your point that Neanderthals were simply 'bigger', come up with positive evidence that they had reduced musculature as compared to every other primate, to include human beings, in proportion to their skeletal structure.

Spiryt
2014-12-03, 09:28 AM
Not only do robust bones come with a similarly robust musculature (refer to similarly robust extant primates and compare the skeletons of humans with those of gorillas), but by examining the attachment points of Neanderthal skeletons, paleontologists have determined that their musculature is significantly greater than a modern human's. In point of fact, one of the leading theories on their extinction hinges on this - they died out because their caloric requirements were about twice those of modern humans, and thus they couldn't compete against H. s. sapiens in the long run.


And that's fair, though I haven't been able to read much about it.

Can be true, I guess.

Comparing other primates to gorillas is not that sensible though, they're in general just few times bigger.




Your supposition requires that Neanderthal anatomy be significantly different from modern primates. Therefore, you need a stronger argument than a supposed lack of evidence. You need to, in order to prove your point that Neanderthals were simply 'bigger', come up with positive evidence that they had reduced musculature as compared to every other primate, to include human beings, in proportion to their skeletal structure.

Not really, nowhere did I state that they would be 'bigger'.

And I haven't proposed any 'reduced musculature', not sure where did you take it from.



Obese humans are not 'big-boned'; only humans with extensive and abnormally excessive muscular development have robust bones.

Neither obese nor very muscular people are 'big boned'.

Years of rigorous strength training and similar activities do cause hypertrophy of bones, but even with modern resources (diets, doctors, supplements, even growth hormone shenanigans) etc. it's just not that significant growth.

Big boned people/animals have big bones, simply.

And it's mostly genetic factor, plus of course nutrition and health while those bones grow.

Really, this whole discussion would be solved out with actual skeleton weighing, or something.

What are most complete finds, and how did scientist figured out this '77kg' weight for average male, for example?

TripleD
2014-12-03, 10:45 AM
Sexual Selection.

Create a culture that constantly portrays short people as sexy/lucky/beautiful. Limit immigration/emigration. Return in a millennium to enjoy your hobbits.

Solaris
2014-12-03, 10:15 PM
Comparing other primates to gorillas is not that sensible though, they're in general just few times bigger.

Humans (that is, H. s. sapiens) are a lot more gracile in their skeletal structure than most other apes. In fact, we're more gracile than a lot of extinct hominids. It's not merely that the gorilla is 'just a few times bigger', it's also designed differently. The gorilla, if scaled down to the size of a human, is still stronger than a human because of these differences in skeletal and muscular structures. Likewise, I wouldn't want to get in a fistfight with a chimpanzee because they have the kind of strength Conan wishes he had - despite being smaller than the average human.


And I haven't proposed any 'reduced musculature', not sure where did you take it from.

Your suggestion that they'd have big bones without corresponding musculature implies that Neanderthals had a reduced musculature compared to another ape scaled up (or down) to their build.


Neither obese nor very muscular people are 'big boned'.

Hence the use of the term 'abnormal'.

Eric Tolle
2014-12-04, 08:52 AM
Here's a simple reason. The managers of the globe-spanning factories wanted workers who could fit into maintenance ducts easily, so they fired anyone over 4' in height, leaving them to starve. Over millennial, this resulted in a subspecies of short people. This only applies to floors 175 - 388 of the global factory, though.

Darcand
2014-12-04, 08:53 AM
You're right, I stand corrected. But the point about social co-operation among people who live closer together remains.



Yes, of course countless smaller species have gone extinct too. But my point is, the larger species have gone and not been replaced. There is no land animal today, or even within recorded history, that comes even remotely close to the size of a sauropod. Animals like the kodiak bear, komodo dragon, Bengal tiger, orang-utan, mountain gorilla, elephant, rhino - all show that large size is possible to achieve, but hard to sustain - all these animals lived in a very tightly limited habitat, even before humans started to seriously erode their territory.

Smaller animals (like the fox, rabbit, wallaby, possum, mink, many small birds, and of course rats) have been introduced by humans to new territories, and thrived in wild populations. Larger ones - have seldom successfully spread beyond farms and zoos. Consider the ostrich, for instance - there are many places in the world where ostriches are farmed, but have they ever established a permanent wild population outside Africa? Not that I know of.
I can't speak for the ostrich, however in South Texas, where I'm from, we have a very successful population of feral hogs. They were able to survive in the wild by being too rage to be eaten by any local predators and tough enough to eat most anything they come across.

On the original topic; I would look at the three primary subspecies of goblin and what advantages they each possess. Hobgoblins form the core of the species, and are most similar to humans in their society and physiology. Goblins evolved from Hobs by merit of both not being perceived as a physical threat to rivals and being able to survive on fewer resources during lean times. Only the individuals small and fast enough to live on the scraps of civilization persisted to pass on those traits to their offspring. This also accounts for the Gob's change in temperament from Lawful to Neutral; society existed as both a requirement and a threat to survival. This also accounts for the subspecies' more primitive nature, where as Hobs developed through innovation and enslavement, Gobs survived through theft and servitude.

At the other end of the goblin spectrum is the Bugbear. Larger, stronger, and individualistic, Bugs evolved through the same circumstances as Gobs, but with opposite results. Bugbears are the descendants of Hobs who were strong enough to survive through force during lean times by bullying, killing, and even cannibalizing their weaker kin. As only the strongest were able to survive in this way, only they passed on those traits to their young. This can also be seen in the Bugs' extreme self interest world view, reflected in their Chaotic alignment, where survival of the society is tantamount to survival of the individual.

Spiryt
2014-12-04, 11:37 AM
Your suggestion that they'd have big bones without corresponding musculature implies that Neanderthals had a reduced musculature compared to another ape scaled up (or down) to their build.

Hence the use of the term 'abnormal'.

But I wasn't suggesting 'big bones' merely not smaller ones. Not sure why you guys keep repeating that




Humans (that is, H. s. sapiens) are a lot more gracile in their skeletal structure than most other apes. In fact, we're more gracile than a lot of extinct hominids. It's not merely that the gorilla is 'just a few times bigger', it's also designed differently. The gorilla, if scaled down to the size of a human, is still stronger than a human because of these differences in skeletal and muscular structures. Likewise, I wouldn't want to get in a fistfight with a chimpanzee because they have the kind of strength Conan wishes he had - despite being smaller than the average human.

Of course, that they are designed differently, and I've never questioned it.

I was only talking about skeleton size, because all other things get very complicated quick.

In any case, other big apes re likely way stronger than humans due to reasons neurological, and the very structure of the muscles themselves - not their size or attachment.

But yeah, different distribution alone would be certainly important too - most certainly our theoretical N. with similar mass of bone and muscle but 15cm shorter would be very strong indeed. As far as maximal lift, push, hold, squat etc. goes, at least.


Better leverage and 'depth' of muscles spanned over larger surfaces or wider chest, broader pelvis, over wider joints would help a lot.

The price would be reach and leverage at the end of the limbs, resulting in way better 'numbers' as far as everything large speed related goes - throwing, jumping, punching.

But that's, as mentioned, different discussion.