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Science says

New studies suggest humans' skeletons became more fragile with switch to farming

Two new studies suggest that our ancestors' transition to farming from hunting and gathering caused humans' skeletons to become much weaker, The Washington Post reports.

While farmers might argue that their profession keeps them incredibly active, scientists say that we're not "challenging our bones with enough loading" in the same way as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Both studies were published Monday in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

The first one focused on the timing of humans' decreasing skeletal strength. Scientists found that about 12,000 years ago, when humans began to incorporate agriculture into their communities, their networks of spongy bone at joints became less dense. In the second study, scientists focused on determining whether farming was indeed the impetus for the lower density. Researchers noted that the farmers they studied continued to eat the same diets as their hunter-gatherer ancestors, but they walked much less and led relatively sedentary lifestyles.