Body, Evolution of

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The earliest stages in the evolution of the human body (2-6. Ma) involved a gradual adaptation to terrestrial bipedality through various structural modifications. Body size in these early ancestors was smaller, but sexual dimorphism larger than in modern humans. With the evolution of Homo erectus about 1.5-2.0. Ma, essentially modern body proportions and levels of sexual dimorphism were established. Body size reached a peak between about 50. 000 and 500. 000. years ago and has declined on average since then. Body shape variation among both earlier Homo and modern humans is strongly conditioned by climatic adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • Adaptation
  • Bipedality
  • Body
  • Body mass
  • Climate
  • Ecogeographic
  • Evolution
  • Hominin
  • Human
  • Locomotion
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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