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Monday, November 17, 2003

Is ectomorphism an evolved specialization?

(I posted this originally to the ectomorph LJ, so any comments meant for general consumption can be posted there.)

Are the different body types and temperaments just random variation on the frontiers of evolution, or are they clusters of specialization that have been naturally selected over time?

With the advent of social groups, and particularly the concept of trade, there emerges the opportunity for specialization away from the physical abilities which form the root of any species' success. I.e., provided the physical needs of the clan are more than accounted for, there comes room for other specializations, such as individuals who convert their resources into intellectual rather than physical output. Would the same principles that generally afford more success to someone who devotes their life to one trade rather than many also afford more success to genes which cluster the phenotypes into distinct specialties?

What other things would lead from this? E.g., would we expect less sexual dimorphism among ectomorphs since pregnancy is less of a hindrance to intellectual vs. physical pursuits?

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com