Human Growth

Human Growth

ESSAY FORMAT: Choose and answer TWO questions from the list below (please do NOT answer more than two). Since this is a take home exam, please type your answers using at least 12-point font size, lines double-spaced, and reasonable margins on the page (roughly 1” margins). Your answer to each question probably should be no more than four double-spaced pages. Good answers could well be shorter; quality of thought and expression are far more important than length. If you need additional time for any reason, please inform <link is hidden> main intention is to promote thinking about topics related to growth and development rather than to launch you onto a search for the “right answers.”

1. Both of the Incredible <link is hidden> Hollywood films embodied scientific implausibility about the size:shape relationship (they were purposely-chosen as poor models for this point). However, overall the two films differed in tone, with one presenting a decidedly darker view overall of science and scientists than the other. a. How would you account for the differences in tone?b. Given your information acquired from this and other courses as well as other sources (which you should cite if used), do you think that the overall views of science are justified, or not?

2. “Downsizing” was equally imperfect in representing the size:shape relationship but was more sober in tone. What do you think accounts for this difference? This question is asking you to draw on your own direct knowledge of people such as family, friends, other University students, etc., and the larger sociocultural setting in general. In answering a question of this sort it is reasonable to consider the world as it is and as it might be.

3. Here’s another question that asks you to apply your developing knowledge of human growth phenomena to a larger ecological framework. In this case you might consider a small mammal such as the common North American shrew as a biological model. Hint: In a Gedankenversucht (German word for a hypothetical “thought experiment” that can be imagined but not performed for one or another reason) of this sort you might think a bit about shrew metabolism and consider the energetic requirements of the downsized humans. Your answer might include some rough numerical calculations or estimates, but don’t get too hung up on precision.

4. The simple concept of BMI (body mass index) is a very rough first approximation of a healthy physique. Explore mathematically three alternative models of your own body. The first, basic one, could represent your body as a simple sphere (what would you use as a radius, and why?). The second would be a cylinder, based on your stature and waist or chest circumference. A third and more accurate model would use appropriate measurements using separate cylinders for your trunk, arms, legs, etc. Obviously this last model can be carried to increasing levels of detail (arms as two cylinders rather than one; ditto legs, etc.). Compare the simple with the more complex model in terms of surface area:volume values. Hint: there are numerous online sites that give the formulas for the basic geometric forms.

5. Some concern has been expressed that Kinesiology students don’t know enough about human biological diversity. In response to that concern, this question explores size:shape relationships in the context of past environmental influences. Human populations in various parts of the world differ in body proportions, and there is excellent evidence that at least some

of the difference results from long-term evolutionary adaptation to climates. Pick two examples from existing human populations that show different surface area:body volume proportions and explain how these proportions are adaptive to the environments inhabited.

6. In Chapter 1, Bogin discusses Benjamin S. Bloom’s ‘powerful environment hypothesis” that concerns huan populations living under extreme environmental conditions. Discuss the potential implications of this hypothesis disparities of attainment in the United States at present.

7. What are the nature, uniqueness, and implications of the human growth curve (Bogin Chapter 3).

<link is hidden> and body mass increase (compound) at varying rates during life (in the next section of the course we will explore examples of compounding in more formal – but quite simple – mathematical terms). Choose several developmental periods (from among prenatal life, Infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and show for them the relative increases in brain and body mass. Are these rates constant across all time periods? If not, what are the patterns of difference that they show?

9. It sometimes is said, including by your instructor, that the study of human growth and development potentially is one of the most boring topics in the biological sciences. To show that this dismal statement is not necessarily true, outline a topic that could be covered in a lecture or two that would be intriguing or engaging rather than boring.

10. Compose and answer one essay question from the text material or from the lecture material or related reading that is pertinent to the course content covered so far that is distinct from any of the ones presented above



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