Short people

As you will probably know, human beings are getting taller.

I never really put much thought into it – humans are getting taller over time, big deal, it’s evolutionary useful, so it’s just happening. But the other day, it struck me that if it was happening by evolution, it must be doing so using evolution’s trusted method, natural selection.

This states that desirable characteristics, ie, those that help an organism survive, continue to grow because they are more successful at reproducing. This seems to point to one conclusion – being above average height makes you more likely to reproduce than someone below average height.

Could this be true? Do short people really no reason to live?

Thankfully, the answer, is no. As Scientific American explains, the increase in human height is almost certainly nothing to do with evolution, and everything to do with the improvements to our diet that have been made over the past few hundred years.

Malnourished children don’t grow as much as children who have a healthy diet. Given a healthy diet is a relatively new concept (indeed, in many parts of Africa, it still hasn’t reached there yet), that explains why humans have started getting taller over this time period.



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This entry was posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2013 at 11:07 am and is filed under Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.