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Q&A

Would a 200-Pound Dwarf Still Need to Wear Clothing?

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How does a Neandertal compare with an anatomically modern human? This diagram below is a simplification of the real answer:

Image alt text

The average Neandertal male stood 64 inches tall, weighed 143 pounds and had a brain volume of 1600 milliliters. The average female stood 62 inches tall, weighed 110 pounds and had a brain volume of 1300 milliliters. Both sexes had to be larger and stockier proportionally because the climate of Late Pleistocene Europe was very similar to that of both Canada and Alaska. Despite this, however, there was evidence that they still wore clothing.

But if the Neandertals were smaller and heavier--enough to be analogous to the dwarf of modern fantasy--would they still need to wear clothes?

In this alternate Earth, both Neandertal sexes had the same brain volume (averaging up to 1600 milliliters), but the average male stood 48 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds, whereas the average female stood 43 inches tall and weighed 168 pounds. In short, smaller in height but higher in weight than our Neandertals. With 200 pounds of bone, muscle and fat compressed into a smaller body, this one question stands--would the smaller, "dwarved-down" Neandertal still need to wear clothing, or would the extra mass be enough to keep them warm in the frigid climate of Ice Age Europe?

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Yes, in my opinion.

Other things being equal, the rate of heat loss from a human (or Neanderthal) depends on surface area. (You mention brain sizes but if that is in the expectation that a larger than average proportion of heat is lost through the head, of a naked person, that is a myth. Actually it could be a little less, because of hair.)

The surface area of humans is impossible to determine accurately merely from weight and height. Other factors are involved, e.g. "heavy bones" and pot bellies, however the difference between 200 lbs at 4' and 140 lbs at 5'6" is of the order of 10% (there are calculators on the web).

40-50,000 years ago there were long periods (many centuries at a time) where the annual average European temperature barely rose to the freezing point of water.

Based on Bergmann's rule, a "dwarved-down" Neandertal is more likely to require clothing in a cold climate than a 'standard-sized' one.

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