Hammond's Law of Auxology

Beverly Erlebacher bae at cs.toronto.edu
Wed Dec 20 22:38:31 EST 2000


In article <3A407870.D1D9055D at mediaone.net>,
George Hammond  <ghammond at mediaone.net> wrote:
>
>  However, you are apparently unaware of
>something called the SECULAR TREND in human growth.  
>  The mere EXISTENCE of the SECULAR TREND blows
>all of your (elementary) speculation out of the water.
>  The SECULAR TREND shows beyond any question that
>Man's PHENOTYPE is historically proceeding towards
>his GENOTYPE.  It's as simple as that.

In populations with good health care, plenty of good food year round 
and high protein intake in children and teenagers, people grow taller
than their ancestors who didn't eat the same diet and got seriously
sick a lot more as children.

While you will see this trend in North America, especially in children
of immigrants, you won't see it in most of the world's population.

>  He is achieving a more optimum environment,
>and since the SECULAR TREND is a STANDARD SIGMOIDAL
>CURVE, obviously Man is headed towards an
>"ideal" or "perfect" environment in which
>his PHENOTYPE will finally EQUAL his
>GENOTYPE.

Bigger is not necessarily better.  Most tall people have back problems.
If they ate like their ancestors did, they wouldn't have gotten so tall
and their backs would have been able to take it.  Selection works on the
expression of the genotype under the current conditions.  Your genotype
was selected for producing a shorter phenotype than you likely have, under
the conditions which produced your ancestors.  

Btw, another example of this is in dogs.  For a long time, it was thought
that hip dysplasia was a genetic condition in some lines of large breed
dogs, although it didn't make much sense that it would appear in many 
unrelated breeds, as well as mongrels, over the same time period.  It turns
out that modern, optimized dog foods were growing the puppies faster than
previous feed regimes, and that the growth of the dog was outstripping the
development of the hip joint.  So an OPTIMAL diet was producing a PESSIMAL
phenotype (since you like caps).

>  Hammond is merely saying that this is true for
>ALL LIVING THINGS.

It's a bad sign when you refer to yourself in the third person.  Ditto for
using CAPS for the IMPORTANT words.

>  That is what the existence of the
>SECULAR TREND proves... and all your idle
>speculations are blown like leaves before
>this GIANT wind of FACT.

Like the guy said, "plants grow best under the best conditions for growth"
is a tautology not a revelation.






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