A little while ago I wrote a piece about body hacking, choosing paths to alter our perceptions and the ways in which our bodies react or behave to certain stimuli. Something about it though had me thinking, the majority of those things discussed are based on the idea of an adult training themselves in different environments, so how would the body perform if it was under those different conditions from birth, or even before. As a child grows many aspects of their growth can be altered by their intakes of nutrients, climate, atmosphere and I suspect gravity. So would the children who grow up say, in an underwater colony 40m down be significantly different to those who grow up on the surface.
As I’ve mentioned already we know that a child’s nutritional intake and activity levels can both effect the shape that they grow up into. It’s also fairly safe to say that environmental conditions have an effect too, for example children who are raised in thinner atmospheres tend to develope lung capacities to compensate for it. Also children are raised in warmer climes tend to have different skin colourings, even when genetically they are predisposed to a particular shade.
How would such changes as pressure or gravity effect growth though. We can see some examples of how a reduction in air pressure can effect people, but how would an increase change things. Would those living in extremes of air pressure have lower lung capacities again to make up for the increase in gas? It seems a likely proposition, although how the overall bodyshape itself would change is a difficult matter to ascertain. As most of the body is liquid there’s no discernable reason that there should a great change in dimensions as pressure will remain constant throughout, although I guess larger hearts might develope to counter the extra force required. It is possible as well that people may be dumpier if they operate in aprimarily upright orientation.
Gravity seems likely to effect height, with those developing in weaker gravity ending up much taller and probably with weaker bones. I would guess that the converse may be also true and those who grow up in stronger gravity are shorter but also have much stronger bones. Muscle strength is an interesting one as I suspect it depends a lot on the conditions but like bones it seems likely to follow that the stronger the gravity the stronger the muscle tone that the children develope.
So how do we hack our children? How do we make them stronger, faster, healthier and more durable? Is taller better from a developmental point of view? My immediate reaction here was to write for having the children grow tall, but tall may not necessarily be a good indication of anything. Without any certainty on how height fits with the above criteria, it seems likely that raising our children in Strong gravity with a thin atmosphere would be the best option.
How children from each cope with the changes on longterm basis becomes is a completely unquantifiable subject though and unlikely one that we can experiment with.