Suzanne Ubick Humanities and Social Science
Hey Fatty Boom Boom! Fat and Fit in the Upper Paleolithic
Something happened to Homo sapiens, our species, between 75,000 and 60,000 years ago, that resulted in a very different suite of behaviors and the first population boom. I argue that modern humans underwent a biological change that, coupled with environmental changes driving dietary change, allowed humans, especially human females, to lay down large stores of body fat under normal nutritional conditions. I will draw from the archaeological record in the form of ancient artworks, the ethnographic record in the documented changes in stature of the Andaman Islanders over time, and the biological record in comparing fat-management genes and enzymes between humans and chimpanzees, nearest living relative, to test my hypothesis.