March 29, 2008

IN THE AGE OF THE PHARAOHS, life basically sucked:

Studies on the remains of ordinary ancient Egyptians in a cemetery in Tell el-Amarna showed that many of them suffered from anemia, fractured bones, stunted growth and high juvenile mortality rates, according to professors Barry Kemp and Gerome Rose, who led the research. . . . The study showed that anemia ran at 74 percent among children and teenagers, and at 44 percent among adults, Rose said. The average height of men was 159 cm (5 feet 2 inches) and 153 cm among women.

“Adult heights are used as a proxy for overall standard of living,” he said. “Short statures reflect a diet deficient in protein. … People were not growing to their full potential.”

As Robert Fogel has noted, we take for granted today conditions that are a huge departure from basically all of human history.

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