Voyages gave Aichi men ‘the biggest arms’ in Jomon period

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A group of big-boned men who lived on the coast of what is now southern Aichi Prefecture won the “arms” race at the end of the Jomon Pottery Culture period (c. 8000 B.C.-300 B.C.), researchers said.

Voyages gave Aichi men 'the biggest arms' in Jomon period
A humerus, below, of a Jomon period man found at the Hobi shell mound in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture,
is much thicker than that of average-sized humerus of a man from the Edo Period
[Provided by the holistic re-enactment project of the voyage 30,000 years ago/
The Asahi Shimbun]

The men at a settlement on the Atsumi Peninsula had the thickest upper arm bones of any group in Japan during that period, according to the research group, led by Yousuke Kaifu, chief of the Division of Human Evolution, Department of Anthropology, the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo.

The team hypothesizes that the massive upper arms were the result of the lifestyle at the Hobi shell mound in Tahara, which is known to have been an active fishing community.

The bones of large red sea bream and sea lions that usually inhabit the outer sea were discovered at the site. This shows that the men in the community rowed vessels far out to sea to gather food.




The researchers analyzed the sizes of humeri in the excavated remains of 797 people from Hokkaido to Okinawa Prefecture who lived in the Jomon period.

The analysis revealed that the humeri of all 22 males found at the Hobi site were much larger than the overall average.

Moreover, their bones were remarkably thick compared with their neighbors on the Atsumi Peninsula.




On the other hand, female humeri excavated from the Hobi site were about average in size.

Experts also said the Hobi community transported by sea a large amount of a particular stone, called “sanukite,” that can be found on Mount Nijosan on the Kii Peninsula between Osaka and Nara prefectures.

There has been no evidence of such long-distance expeditions at neighboring settlements on the Atsumi Peninsula.

The study results also showed that Jomon people living near coasts tended to have thicker humeri than those who lived inland.

Author: Akemi Kanda | Source: The Asahi Shimbun [September 14, 2018]

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