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A study finds that the human body temperature is changing

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It was determined to be 98.6 Fahrenheit back in 1851:

Researchers say that the body temperature (Fahrenheit) of men born in the 2000s is on average 1.06 degrees lower than men born in the early 1800s. Similarly, women born in the 2000s have an average body temperature that is 0.58 degrees lower than women born in the 1890s. All in all, these conclusions point to a decrease of 0.05 degrees among the U.S. population each and every decade.

John Anderer, “Human Body Temperature In The U.S. Has Decreased Over Time, Study Finds” at StudyFinds

In all 677,423 temperature readings were taken, dating back to the US Civil War era. The open-access paper was published in eLIFE.

From the discussion: “Our investigation indicates that humans in high-income countries have changed physiologically over the last 200 birth years with a mean body temperature 1.6% lower than in the pre-industrial era. The role that this physiologic ‘evolution’ plays in human anthropometrics and longevity is unknown.”

If this finding holds, it’s more evidence that “evolution” is going on all the time like that, and probably drifting back and forth, what becomes of the Facts of Evolution that are the Bedrock of Science and the Truths every schoolchild should be taught?

Seversky - this work is, in some ways, itself a replication - read the first paragraph of the introduction. What it adds is a within-study decline in temperature, which suggests the trend isn't due to differences in technology. Bob O'H
"A similar decline within the Union Army cohort as between cohorts, makes measurement error an unlikely explanation." -- key clip kairosfocus
There was an article about this in SciAm some years ago, stating that actual body temp is typically below the assume 98.6F that we all learned in school. It also varies somewhat among people, and over time for any individual. They seemed to think that the measurement process was subtly different now than 100 years ago. I don't think they suggested that thermometers were inaccurate back then. Fasteddious
Has this work been replicated? Seversky
It's global warming. As the planet warms, we don't need to produce as much warmth ourselves. I'll bet there's a direct statistical correlation! EDTA
It must be the "cool" factor. Everyone wants to be "cool" now! More seriously, if you walk to your doctor visit, your body will be warmer than if you drive? People who work all day in the fields or factories may have higher metabolism over those who sit in an office all day? People are more obese now, so are better insulated, and so do not need as warm an interior to keep the exterior suitably warm? Houses are warmer now than 100 years ago, so easier to regulate body temperature? People live longer now and we cool off as we age, implying a statistical artifact? Add your own speculative hypothesis here: _____________________ This is unlikely to be "evolution" in the genetic change sense, and more likely to be changing nurture over nature trends. Fasteddious

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