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How they survived an ice age

Genetic mutation that left them shorter and increased osteoarthritis risk might have kept them alive

Aneri Pattani | NYT 

Shortness, reduced mobility and sore joints may not come to mind when you think of survival of the fittest. But human evolution could suggest otherwise. In a new study, researchers found that as early humans migrated into colder northern climates, a genetic mutation that knocks about a centimetre off height and increases the risk of osteoarthritis by up to 80 percent may have helped some of them survive the most recent ice age. While some traits resulting from this mutation may seem unfavourable today, they were advantageous to early humans venturing out of Africa about 60,000 ...

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First Published: Fri, July 07 2017. 23:25 IST