Evolution of the human pygmy phenotype

George H. Perry, Nathaniel J. Dominy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Small human body size, or the 'pygmy' phenotype, is characteristic of certain African, Southeast Asian and South American populations. The convergent evolution of this phenotype, and its strong association with tropical rainforests, have motivated adaptive hypotheses that stress the advantages of small size for coping with food limitation, warm, humid conditions and dense forest undergrowth. Most recently, a life-history model has been used to suggest that the human pygmy phenotype is a consequence of early growth cessation that evolved to facilitate early reproductive onset amid conditions of high adult mortality. As we discuss here, these adaptive scenarios are not mutually exclusive and should be evaluated in consort. Findings from this area of research are expected to inform interpretations of diversity in the hominin fossil record, including the purported small-bodied species Homo floresiensis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

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phenotype
convergent evolution
food limitation
Homo
tropical rain forests
anthropometric measurements
fossil record
rainforest
understory
body size
life history
fossils
mortality
human body

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Perry, George H. ; Dominy, Nathaniel J. / Evolution of the human pygmy phenotype. In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 2009 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 218-225.
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Evolution of the human pygmy phenotype. / Perry, George H.; Dominy, Nathaniel J.

In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 24, No. 4, 01.04.2009, p. 218-225.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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