Plasticity in Humans

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The aim of this paper is to cover the subject of plasticity in humans. Plasticity refers to the ability of many organisms to change their biology or behavior to respond to changes in the environment, particularly when these are stressful. After reading the article, The Tall and the Short of It by Barry Bogin, I feel that his article has gone into great detail. Bogin included information from numerous studies and research not only his own but also the research and studies of other professionals. I found the information in this article interesting and informative for someone like me who is taking physical anthropology for the first time. Most interestingly is how he believes that diseases such as Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s can possibly be prevented by plasticity. One of the studies that Bogin noted is a study among the Americans and Dutch heights. Back in the 1850’s Americans were considered the tallest people in the world, but now they are the third tallest around the world. This study revealed that this change is due to the plasticity in people’s childhood and in their mother’s childhood as well. Girls that are undernourished and in poor health causes them to be shorter in height as an adult due to the compromise her body makes while growing up. Her short height can then be passed down to her fetus. The small reproductive system of the mother most likely does not supply an adequate level of nutrients and oxygen to her fetus. Therefore, the child can be born weighing less than normal and will continue the slow growth through out their childhood. Stronger evidence used to support the study among height of group of people is the studies on monozygotic twins. Monozygotic twins are identical genetically, but sometimes can end up being nourished by unequal portions of the placenta. The twin nourished by the smaller fraction of the placenta, are born with lower birth weight than the one in the biggest fraction of the placenta. This difference in growth shows...
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