How Are We Adapted to Our Environment?

Alexander H. Harcourt

in Human Biogeography

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272118
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951778 | DOI:
How Are We Adapted to Our Environment?

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The peoples of different regions, especially different latitudes and altitudes (elevations), are physiologically and anatomically different, because they have adapted to different environments-such as different temperatures, different intensities of sun, and different concentrations of oxygen. Contrasts with latitude are to some extent matched by the anatomical and physiological contrasts between the sexes, and for fundamentally the same reasons. As with species, so with cultures, the tropics are where we find extremes of diversity. In the case of cultures, it could be that the high productivity of the tropics allows people to exist at a viable population size in a small area, meaning that more cultures can be packed into a given area than is the case at higher latitudes.

Keywords: Allen; Arctic; Bergmann; culture; diversity; Forster; latitude; metabolism; skin; stature; tropics

Chapter.  22866 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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