Can Humans Become Shorter?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Omega133, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

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    Can a Human, by physical means, become shorter?
     
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Why? :shrug:
     
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  5. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    There are drastic measures, such as cutting down on the leg bones - I don't recommend it.

    If you have time, just wait. People get shorter as they age.
     
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  7. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

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    Why did I ask? Curiousity.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    mathman, wouldn't that imply that higher gravity would do the trick? Heavy manual labor also shortens people.
     
  9. Omega133 Aus der Dunkelheit Valued Senior Member

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    I don't want to be shorter (I am 5 foot 4 inches), I just was curious.
     
  10. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    I wish I was taller. Fuck being a 5'7 runt. Yeah, that's average for a girl, but I feel like a runt.

    I thought up an exercise for myself that involves elongating my spine...I don't think it's working though.
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I haven't heard of anything that can reduce the size of people that they can take to do so.
     
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    There have been a couple (?) of guys that became 3-4 inches shorter (IIRC). But that was caused by extreme and permanent compression of the spine due to use of an ejection seat.
    Not an option for most people.
     
  13. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    The ravages of old age will do it.

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    My mom used to be 6 ft. tall since she was 13 or 14. She is almost 60 now and already I notice a slight decrease in her height. When before our eyes met straight across (I am 6 ft. too so as adults she and I were the same height), she is now slightly but noticeably shorter than me when I go to see her. I would estimate she lost 3/4 to 1 inch already. 5'11" is still quite tall for a woman but the path only leads downward from there.
     
  14. kmguru Staff Member

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    If supply of foods gets reduced in the future with a 20 Billion population, there could be a forced genetic solution to reduce the population size to say maximum 3 feet. Or if planetary oxygen drops to 15%, this may also reduce the size.
     
  15. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Give them a little bottle of "Ignore". Nothing makes people feel smaller than not acknowledging ego.

    Kgmuru:
    Fuck off. You're being ignored.

    What?
    Shh.

    Eh--
    Shhhhhhhhhh!!
    Huhh? SHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.



    Shhh.
     
  16. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    What, pray, is that yellow polygon thing next to my beautiful name?
     
  17. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It's like a gold star, it means you get extra credit.
     
  18. visceral_instinct Monkey see, monkey denigrate Valued Senior Member

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    So I'll end up like 5'4 in old age?

    Ugh I'd rather be dead. I'm a fucking runt as it is.
     
  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Almost everybody gets an inch shorter as they get older. The connective tissue between the vertebrae breaks down so, essentially, the spine is compressing. This used to happen to people in their 50s, but with better nutrition and medical care, compulsive exercise, and desk jobs that don't wear down our bodies so badly, today it's often delayed into the late 60s.

    Another thing that happens to many (but not all) people is additional breakdown of cartilage and other connective tissue, making it impossible to keep the spine straight. The distance between the ends of a curved line is always shorter than a straight line. This can be moderate so that one-inch shortening becomes two or three inches, or it can be extreme so the person looks like a hunchback and is five or six inches shorter.

    None of these conditions are comfortable. The extreme shortening can be downright painful, and anything that impacts your spine is almost certainly going to impair your range of motion. So nobody goes for this deliberately.

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    Since the second derivative of population turned negative 20-30 years ago, it is almost universally predicted that it will level off around ten billion later in this century, and then start decreasing. Prosperity is the most effective contraceptive and virtually everybody, even the poor people, are more prosperous than they were two generations ago.

    It's a warning. This is just a wild guess, but I would suggest that it might have something to do with this:
    We're trying to clean this place up so the tolerance level for insults (as well as other things like trolling and intellectual dishonesty) has been drastically lowered.

    If you meant that as a joke and KM took it that way, then it was a misunderstanding and you should notify Dywyddr, the Moderator of Human Science. He just recently joined the Circle Of Elders and can't be expected to know the perverse personal relationships that our wacky members have established among themselves.

    In case you ever feel like posting on the Linguistics board, my position is that I don't appreciate that kind of language even in jest, unless it is clearly identified (in some clever or simply obvious way) so no one--not just the target--will take it the wrong way. I want people who stumble into this place from a Google hit to discover, to their pleasant surprise, an oasis of reasonably mature and scholarly discourse.
     
  20. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    Not quite. The decrease in height results from shortening in the spinal column from thinning of the vertebral disks in addition to the shortening of the individual vertebrae and from the postural changes of kyphosis and slight flexion of the knees and hips. And because long bones do not shorten with age, that is why the overall body proportion looks different -- a shorter trunk with relatively long extremities in the elderly. The process starts in the early 30's in men and women and progresses faster in women, leading to an average decrease of 2.9 cm loss for men and 4.9 cm loss for women. It is not delayed until the late 60's. Everyone has lost some height before then.

    source: one of my old nursing reference books.
     
  21. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    5'7" is well above average for a woman.

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  22. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

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    There is a form of cosmetic surgery that lengthens legs, and thus makes you taller. Popular among women, especially in China, to give them long sexy legs.
    http://www.shortsupport.org/Health/Leg-Lengthening/

    Expensive and painful, so you had better be serious about it!
     
  23. Wii624 Registered Member

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    Man I wish I was 5'7. Im 6'2! Believe me, being tall is not that great. It may seem awesome, but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, always point out how tall you are. I feel awkward most of the time too in public places because i'm usually taller than everyone. Sometimes I just wish I could be that one person who has to stand on their toes in order to see over someones shoulder. I feel like a freak all the time. I'd do anything to lose a few inches in order to be in the 5' range.
     

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