How Do People Adapt to the Arctic?

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People have adapted to the Arctic through behavioral means, such as the manners in which they construct their homes, and physiologically, as they have thicker bodies than people from other habitats possess. Humans can adapt to many different habitats because of their intelligence, but over time, their bodies evolve to suit the habitat as well. The Arctic is one of the most challenging habitats in which humans have permanently settled.

Humans have adapted their behaviors to cope with the harsh climate of the arctic and the paucity of available resources. This is reflected in their use of animal hides and scavenged tree branches to make tepees, as well as their use of ice blocks to make igloos. Their clothes were also made from animal hides, and because the animals were also adapted to the Arctic, they kept the indigenous people very warm.

Human beings keep their internal temperatures high by burning calories. In cold temperatures, the heat can escape from the body faster than it can be produced, which can lead to hypothermia. This phenomenon has led native people of the Arctic to evolve shorter, thicker bodies than humans from warmer climates. This occurs because short people have a lower surface to volume ratio than tall people do, which means they radiate heat slower.