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#231591 - 09/07/11 03:45 PM Survival of the biggest / smallest
Chisel Offline

Registered: 12/05/05
Posts: 1328
I was shaking my head as I read about people unhappy with their bodies and going through surgery to change their gender , chest area, or noses ..etc.

Many more people are unhappy about their weight ..etc. and do whatever it takes to get thinner or (maybe) fatter

Two days ago, I was watching a movie called "The Last Legion" in which an Indian actress plays the role of a stunning female warrior able to kill anyone in her path. Wikipedia said that she was labled in India as possibly the "most beautiful woman in the world". That would be special to be so good looking and so brave and skilled in survival.

Not being ambitious to be the "most" of any type, I started wondering about body shapes that would be "best" for survival. Is it better to be taller, shorter, huge 6 footer or a short skinny guy that is hardly visible a few dozen yards away.

There was an old TV series ( Trauma Center ) featured a muscular paramedic ( Lou Ferrignio ) and another little guy working together. They are the 2 guys in the right of this pic


I vaguely remember some episodes where the big guy saved the day by lifting a car or fallen tree (maybe) to free a victim, while in other episodes, the little guy crawled through debris to reach to victims and save them.

So here is the question :

Do you think that a huge body or a little body is better for survival ?
Which one do you prefer ? and why ?

Obvoiusly a bigger guy ( person ) can lift more survival gear pack, but then he NEEDS a bigger pack for more food and bigger tent/sleeping bag

A smaller person can hide from the elments in almost any small space in relative comfort, but then again will not have much of reserve energy or carry much with him/her. And may not have much power to smash through whatever faces him/her.

#231592 - 09/07/11 04:02 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7372
Loc: southern Cal
Interesting question. My guess is that, overall, a fairly skinny, wiry body type would be best, but that would vary with the local climate. Look at the difference between Nilotic Negroes (the Masai - tall and skinny in a hot climate) versus the Inuit (more rotund, with a tendency toward insulating fat layers).

Smaller folk will do better when food is scarce, more or less.

It really all depends on many variables, which is why natural selection maintains a good variety of body types within human populations today.

Myself, I could stand to lose ten pounds. Been saying that for years - will get right on it, just as soon as I finish this bowl of ice cream.
Geezer in Chief

#231594 - 09/07/11 04:07 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
An incredibly open-ended question. Depending on the situation, it's going to depend whether big or smaller has an advantage.

Let me just throw out the first factor that popped into my head--caloric requirements.

A bigger, more muscular person with all that metabolically active muscle is going to need more calories a day. That's something that needs to be met day in and day out, and if food is scarce or requires a lot of energy to obtain, then that's an advantage for the smaller person over the longer run.

Well, if you're "big" because you're fat, then that's likely an advantage when food is scarce, unless that makes you an easier meal for something even bigger! smile

As a broad generality, probably many of the situations where bulk/size is an advantage can be done pretty well by the smaller person with some brainpower and/or tools of some sort.

#231606 - 09/07/11 05:15 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
Colourful Offline

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Yukon
Being as close to average as possible has it's benefits: most stuff fits you, not noticed in a crowd...

#231611 - 09/07/11 06:03 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 2507
Loc: Somewhere in Florida
I hypothesize that an adult in a preadolescent child's body would have the greatest advantage. Such a body would be more energy efficient, would not require adult maintenance products and, if they play it smart, they are less likely to be noticed and if noticed there is a lower likelihood of a problem.

Jeanette Isabelle
“Trust me, this is not gonna end well!” — Pleakley, Lilo & Stitch

#231613 - 09/07/11 06:13 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
preadolescent or young adult? 50 years of experience and wisdom in an 19 year old body -- hmmm, sounds like a brain transplant is in order. I'll floss this time.

To answer the OP, Joe Average -- not too big, not too small, not too young, not too old. Definitely lean with high strength to weight ratio.
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#231620 - 09/07/11 06:45 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
Tyber Offline

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 299
Loc: ST. Paul MN
I aproch this in a Taoist prerspective.

it is always good to be in shape, but the key is to work with your body type and not fight it. if you are a little person, embrace that, be little and be wise about what you do to survive, if you are huge and muscular work with that.

If you are slow and methotical, be that, it can help you survive just as being fast and light.

It is key to not envey those who posses strengths you do not have, but to reoginze what you do have and acentuate your strengths and work with them.

#231621 - 09/07/11 06:45 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Russ]
MoBOB Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
Originally Posted By: Russ
To answer the OP, Joe Average -- not too big, not too small, not too young, not too old. Definitely lean with high strength to weight ratio.

Sounded good until the mention of age. Controlling of age is very much a De Leonian quest that has yet to be achieved. crazy
"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

#231623 - 09/07/11 06:55 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: MoBOB]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7372
Loc: southern Cal
Look at this from the perspective of the group, not the individual. Diversity pays, big time. A group that has gargantuan hunks as well as skinny little folk will win through over a more a less mixed group. I have seen this in caving, where you need both - it all depends on the situation and the circumstances.

I have really seen this in SAR. Our best teams were a mix of youthful enthusiasm and knowing elders, male and female. Pair the microbiologist and the plumber - between them they will have the right stuff (that is not a hypothetical pairing, by the way). Be sure you have a good technical climber and someone really good at EMS. Everybody pulls together.

Survival is much easier in a team. Sometimes you can really cold and lonely if you are by yourself at 3 AM.
Geezer in Chief

#231626 - 09/07/11 07:13 PM Re: Survival of the biggest / smallest [Re: Chisel]
Bingley Offline

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1451
From an evolutionary point of view, maybe we already have a decent configuration for survival, next to the cockroaches obviously. While there is a certain degree of diversity amongst us, we are not as different from one another as, say, mole people. On the average we're between 5'-6', between 120-200 lbs (not scientific numbers, but you get the idea). Homo floresiensis (size of a hobbit) died out, and so did our cousin Neanderthal with somewhat different a physical and mental make up. This may not be because we're "better," but we've managed to get this far.

I'm sure a part of the reason is that we're intelligent, social creatures. We can work together, and complement each other. After all, in terms of purely physical traits, we're slower than a zebra, weaker than a lion, less agile than a monkey, etc. Yet somehow we beat them all. So perhaps that's the perspective we should use to look at questions about which body type is best for survival: our bodies, while decent, are no comparison to certain wild animals. So our best trait may be how we work together as a group, using our brains to overcome things that challenge our meager bodies.

Da Bing

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