Today the average height for a male is around 5 ft 10 in (177 cm) and 5 ft 5 in for women (163-164 cm). Race can also affect height with the average for some races being taller and for others a bit shorter. Food intake and disease can also affect height as well as environment.
Humans have not always been these average heights. In paleoanthropology we use fossils to calculate the heights of some of our ancient human ancestors. The femur (thighbone) is the most useful bone for making such determinations as it typically composes about 1/4 of human height and is the longest bone in the human body.
Using femur bones and other bones we have been able to estimate height in some of our ancient ancestors. For instance, Homo heidelbergensis lived around 700-200 kya and we estmate males stood an average of 5 ft 9 in tall with females being slightly shorter standing on average 5 ft 2 in tall.
The “Hobbit” (aka: Homo Floresiensis) lived between 95-17 kya and were much shorter. A female skeleton from this species of ancient human ancestor reveals she stood slightly over 3 ft.
Neanderthals who lived between 200-28 kya had an average height of 5 ft 5 in for males and 5 ft 1 in for females. Most paleoanthropologists believe their short, stocky body type helped them stay warm and survive the harsh ice ages they lived through. Continue Reading
When I was a child I used to tag along with my father on hunting trips and we would sometimes come across Indian ruins. As a child I was amazed that some of the ruins were those of little houses and I couldn’t figure out how adults could live in them until one day my father explained to me that people back then were smaller than people today. Suddenly, the little ruins all made sense to me! Yes it was a “revelation” to me lol 🙂
Bes, the ancient Egyptian dwarf god
What I didn’t know at the time was just how little some of these ancient people actually were. Anthropologist and Author Dr Susan Martinez has written about the little people in one of her books entitled, “The Lost History of the Little People.” This is actually an amazing book for the study of the little people as she covers them all over the world. This brings me to the subject of this post and the little people found in Iran.
Back in August of 2005 a tiny mummified body was unearthed in the ancient Persian village known as “Makunik.” Persia is the name modern Iran used to be called. The discovery caused an international sensation and researchers who examined the mummified remains concluded it was the remains of an adolescent dwarf. But this was not the only thing found because excavations at the site of the village revealed what appeared to be the ruins of an entire town for such little people!
Discovery of the mummy and town came after 2 months of illegal excavation in the historic Gudiz Fort in Kerman Province, Iran. The site is near the Iranian town of Shahdad which dates back to the time of the Sassanid Empire which existed from 224 AD to about 651 AD. The Sassanid Empire was the last Persian Empire before the coming of Islam to Iran/Persia.
Smugglers took the tiny mummified body and attempted to sell it on the black market in German for 3 million dollars. The tiny mummy is about 25 cm tall (9.8 inches). It’s body is still covered in its skin and forensic investigators estimate the tiny individual was between 16-17 years old.
Long before this discovery there were rumors in the area of a lost city of little people. Controversy erupted when some researchers claimed the individual was 5000 years old and did not date to the Sassanid Empire period. And that controversy continues even today. Continue Reading