At 71kg and 163cm tall, she is the average weight and height for today, 12kg heavier but only 2cm taller than her great-great grandmother who shared her first name. She’s read that the average size in Australia is now 16, but she is constantly irritated by the inconsistencies in dress sizes between shops. She’s already been to Seduce, where she’s a size 14, and Country Road, where she’s a 12. Her proportions bear little resemblance to the mannequin in the window, little changed since Edwardian times. Outside, her 26-year-old boyfriend Joe is fussing with the camera settings on his new mobile phone. At 85kg and 178cm tall, he is the average size for a man of his age, 13kg heavier (and 4 cm taller)
than a typical male back in the 1920s.
From the Neolithic Age, about 5000 years ago, to the 18th century, humans attained small stature. Allowing for statistical wobble of two centimetres either way, men were on average 165 centimetres,
But there were variations. People near the equator were shorter still (African and Asian pygmies are generally under 130 centimetres) while a cemetery at the Polish town of Lubin has yielded 14th century male skeletons with an average height of 172 centimetres.