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Thread: Question - Obese vs Thin in Ice Age Scenario

  1. #1 Question - Obese vs Thin in Ice Age Scenario 
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    Hello - I was wondering, would people who are considerably better insulated through their body fat survive better in ice age conditions than those who were not so well insulated? (Provided of course that they were mobile enough to be able to fend for themselves in the food stakes etc) and, if it was THAT cold, would their skin 'freeze' or have a higher risk of becoming infected because it was on the outside of the fat layer?


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  3. #2  
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    In the cold, there are two potential issues - one is hypothermia and the other is frostbite. Frostbite is when your skin freezes. A layer of fat doesn't provide very much insulation, but to the extent that it does, it would make one somewhat more susceptible to frostbite in the area of the fat layer. However, frostbite usually occurs in the extremities, not in areas where you have a layer of fat.

    I think that being fatter would help protect from hypothermia more so because of the extra body mass (which burns calories and generates heat) than because of the insulation qualities of fat. The surface area of a person or animal increases in proportion to the square of the dimensions, whereas the mass increases in proportion to the cube of the dimension. For this reason larger and more rotund animals have an advantage in the cold.


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  4. #3  
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    Body-fat is less crucial to survival when people could use fat on cloth instead. I'm just saying that fat isn't necessarily be eaten: you can use them for insulate cloth or to feed fire. It is not necessary to be inside your skin to survive coldness.

    For example: the crew of Shackleton expedition survived antartic by using sea-lion's fat ("blubber") to insulate their cloth. Their story is the most emotionally gripping survival story I've ever heard. You can find them in Youtube under "Shackleton Endurance".
    Last edited by msafwan; October 14th, 2011 at 12:10 AM.
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