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Humans Have Faster Metabolism Than Closely Related Primates, Enabling Larger Brains

140909123522-largeLoyola University Chicago researchers are among the co-authors of a groundbreaking study that found humans have a higher metabolism rate than closely related primates, which enabled humans to evolve larger brains. The study, published in the journal Nature, found that humans also have a higher percentage of body fat, providing the energy reserves to fuel their faster metabolism. The findings may point toward strategies for combating obesity, researchers said. “Humans exhibit an evolved predisposition to deposit fat whereas other hominoids remain relatively lean, even in captivity where activity levels are modest,” researchers wrote. “Untangling the evolutionary pressures and physiological mechanisms shaping the diversity of metabolic strategies among living hominoids may aid efforts to promote and repair metabolic health for humans in industrialized populations and apes in captivity.”

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