Have you ever wondered why 10-year-olds now look more like teenagers while at the same time the middle-aged people look younger? Both these effects are caused by a phenomenon called ‘acceleration’.
Below, we have explained the reason behind this strange phenomenon.
First of all, the average human height has been increasing dramatically for the last few centuries. We are now 1 head taller (or 0.3 ft taller) than our ancestors from the 19th century.
For instance, Jennifer Lawrence stands at 5’7″ while Marilyn Monroe’s height was 5’4″.
Though one example can’t justify the whole argument, there is sufficient evidence to prove how the average human height has grown over the last 150 years.
In addition, an average girl today hits puberty at the age of 10 while the puberty age was 16.5 in the 1860’s. Likewise, the boys also mature sooner than they used to a few centuries back.
Previously, the body development used to end at 20 and 22 years for girls and boys respectively, but now it happens at the age of 16 in girls and at 18 in boys.
Now, let’s see the other effect of acceleration, due to which middle-aged people today seem a lot younger than what they looked a few centuries ago.
There is enough evidence which suggests that people today grow older relatively later than in the 19th century.
For instance, see the difference between two 40-year-old actresses from the 20th and the 21st century. On the left is Elena Kuzmina, a Soviet Union actress, while on the right is Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre.
Many scientists have tried to explain the strange phenomenon of acceleration by various theories.
According to one highly popular opinion, acceleration has happened due to technological advancements. The most notable advancements include the fast development of medicine, an increase in average temperature in homes due to heating, and an increase in daylight hours due to electricity.
Scientists believe that these factors stop the wear and tear in the human body.
As a result, the human body no longer has to use its energy for fighting physical problems in a hostile environment and can spend all energy on its development.
Though acceleration can’t be credited to this reason alone, it surely plays a big part.
Another theory suggests that acceleration is caused by endocrine disruptors (EDCs) found in cosmetics, plastics, and personal hygiene products.
The theory says these chemicals act like hormones once they enter the human body. But the validity of this theory is yet to be established.
Another popular theory credits the acceleration to our nutrition.
The proponents of this opinion believe that food quality has increased over the years. Our ingredients have changed and we consume almost all essential substances required by our body.
For instance, Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid weren’t as much available to our ancestors than they are now.
The average food consumption has also increased. For example, an average Russian now eats 160 lb of meat per year while a similar person used to eat just 81 lb of meat per year in the USSR.
Acceleration has caused a lot of problems in the younger generations.
For instance, 14-year-olds now look like fully grown up but their emotional and psychological intelligence is still that of a child.
In most cases, girls develop sexual desires in young ages but they don’t know what to do about it.
Maybe this is why adults should give margin to children when they make mistakes due to emotional distress caused by acceleration.
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