Say, have you noticed something ... different about mankind? Maybe it's the hair, or the 'tude, but there's something about us that feels more chill, more cool, than before. No, wait, I got it. It's the leather jacket, the one we now wear at all times because our bodies are getting colder by the second.
For centuries, common wisdom dictated that the average temperature of the human body is 37 degrees Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. But once again, it turns out that our wise grandmother is nothing more than a liar and a charlatan. Modern scientists have established that our body temperature averages closer to 36.6C/97.9F, a tiny fever's worth of difference. No wonder, since the 37C average was established all the way back in, oh, 1851 by a Dr. Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich, and a man with that kind of pedigree you don't contradict unless you want to get relentlessly mocked by a room full of walrus mustaches.
So was Herr Doctor Wunderlich wrong when he made his measurements? According to a new study that has observed trends in human body temperature from Civil War veterans to Gen Z babies, actually, no. While it was previously assumed that the discrepancy could just be blamed on that the old timey thermometers being shoved up Union soldiers' muskets were about as accurate as their rifles, it's actually our human bodies that are slowly changing temperature. Even after we got our thermometer game on point, this almost generational decline stayed its course, meaning our hot bods are still cooling down a non-negligible 0.03C or 0.05F per decade on average.
Does that mean that, by 14,190 AD we'll all have turned into White Walkers, zero degree husks that freeze everything with their chill touch? No. Well, probably not. It likely depends on how well we're doing as a society, claims co-author Julie Parsonnet, who points at the fact that we're no longer Industrial Era maniacs constantly running around with a low-grade fever, alternatively boiling or freezing underneath our thin jackets and stove-pipe hats. Thanks to our more sedentary lifestyle, better healthcare and consistent temperatures (thanks, air conditioning) it just makes sense that our body no longer has to run so hot to keep us going. And if those conveniences continue, we will keep slightly and healthily becoming more and more chill right as the world around us burns. Yay science!
For more weird tangents from a man who's either constantly sweating or freezing, do follow Cedric on Twitter.