0
   

The Dutch are getting taller ... what? why?

 
 
ehBeth
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:21 pm
The Dutch are all over the news tonight - for all sorts of reasons.

The one I find most interesting, so far

Quote:
Scientists try to answer why Dutch people are so tall


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/08/scientists-try-to-answer-why-dutch-people-are-so-tall

Quote:
The Netherlands is the land of giants: on average, its women stand almost 1.71 metres (5.6 feet) tall, and its men 1.84 metres.

But how the Dutch became the world’s tallest people has been somewhat of a mystery. After all, two centuries ago they were renowned for being among the shortest. What happened since then?

A popular explanation is nutrition – a calorie-stuffed diet rich in meat and dairy products. But that can’t be the whole story, experts say.

Other European countries, too, have enjoyed similar prosperity and a rise in living standards, yet their citizens have not shot skywards as much. The average male height in the Netherlands has gained 20 cm (eight inches) in the last 150 years, according to military records. By comparison, the height of the average American man has risen a mere six centimetres over the same period.

Researchers led by Gert Stulp, a specialist in population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, combed a Dutch database for clues.

Called LifeLines, the record contains exhaustive detail about the lives and health of more than 94,500 people who lived in the northern the Netherlands from 1935 to 1967. In this three-decade snapshot, the people who had the most children were tall men, and women of average height, the team found.


Quote:
For example, the most fertile men were seven centimetres above the average height. Statistically, they had 0.24 more children on average than the least fertile men, who were about 14 cm below the average height.

Compared to counterparts in other countries where they often tended to have fewer children, taller women also reproduced more in the Netherlands. Many postponed having children until after their studies, but once they forged a successful relationship, often had a large family.


Quote:
There seems to be a cultural preference as well.

Stulp pointed to figures showing that, in the United States, shorter women and men of average height have the most reproductive success.

“There is much variation in what men and women want,” he said. “When it comes to choosing a mate, height tends to have (only) a small effect, which is not very surprising given the many other, more important, traits people value in their mate.”
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,783 • Replies: 13

 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:23 pm
http://qz.com/378899/dutch-men-are-the-tallest-in-the-world-because-thats-what-dutch-women-prefer/

Quote:
Dutch men are tall, and Dutch women apparently like it that way.

Scientists have found that natural selection—women choosing taller men to mate with—is a factor in the height of Dutch men, which has rocketed up by 20 cm (7.9 inches) over the past 200 years, while the heights of people in other similarly developed nations has—literally­—only inched up.


In the mid 18th century, Dutch soldiers measured an average height of 165 cm (5 feet 4 inches). Back then, American soldiers “towered over” the Dutch by up to eight centimeters, according to research published today by the Royal Society in the UK.

But things have changed. Dutch men are now the tallest in the world, with an average man reaching 184 cm (6 feet). The Dutch are closely followed by Scandinavians, and are far taller than Americans, who have only grown by 6 cm (2.4 inches) over the same time period, to around 178 cm (5 feet 10 inches).
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:24 pm
@ehBeth,
another interesting little piece from the second link (same study)

Quote:
Taller than average men had more children overall, and more children that survived, while shorter men were less likely to reproduce.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:27 pm
@ehBeth,
http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/04/did-natural-selection-make-dutch-tallest-people-planet

Quote:
Because tall men are likely to pass on the genes that made them tall, the outcome suggests that—in contrast to Americans—the Dutch population is evolving to become taller, Stulp says. "This is not what we've seen in other studies—that's what makes it exciting," says evolutionary biologist Simon Verhulst of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who was Stulp's Ph.D. adviser but wasn't involved in the current study. Verhulst points out that the team can't be certain that genes involved in height are actually becoming more frequent, however, as the authors acknowledge.

The study suggests that sexual selection is at work in the Dutch population, Stearns says: Dutch women may prefer taller men because they expect them to have more resources to invest in their children. But there are also other possibilities. It could be that taller men are more resistant to disease, Stearns says, or that they are more likely to divorce and start a second family. "It will be a difficult question to answer.”

Another question is why tall men in Holland are at a reproductive advantage but those in the United States are not. Stulp says he can only speculate. One reason may be that humans often choose a partner who's not much shorter or taller than they are themselves. Because shorter women in the United States have more children, tall men may do worse than those of average height because they're less likely to partner with a short woman.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:45 pm
@ehBeth,
Makes sense. Sexual Selection in action.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 07:52 pm
@rosborne979,
Apparently the Dutch and Americans have different preferences Smile
roger
 
  3  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 08:33 pm
This makes me feel so, well, small.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 08:38 pm
@roger,
I was happy to discover that I'm not shrinking as much as I thought I was ... it's my Dutch acquaintances ... they're taller than the Dutch people I used to know. It's a bit of a phew <wipes brow>.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 03:46 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Apparently the Dutch and Americans have different preferences Smile
Apparently so. I wonder why. Culture leads to selection leads to evolution?
0 Replies
 
FOUND SOUL
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 03:48 am
@ehBeth,
Interesting and if I may, Dutchy was friggen SO TALL !

As for me, with "Dutch high heels" I am 5 foot 11 I reckon that makes this Aussie very tall and she isn't Dutch!

Wink
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 04:34 am
Swedish men are 181.5 - smaller than the Dutch, but still tall.
Just like in The Netherlands men as well as women have gotten taller over the last few hundred years.
Going back 4000 years the Swedes on the Eascoast were at least just as tall as a modern Swede wheras on the Westcoast they were smaller.
Over the centuries the Swedes got smaller and again got taller.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 08:36 am
There is a funny little interview with the lead researcher, Gert Stulp, at this link

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.3024987/why-are-the-dutch-so-tall-scientists-find-new-clue-to-the-mystery-1.3025375

Quote:
Stulp himself is Dutch and 6 feet 7 inches tall. But his parents are not especially tall.

"It must be all the milk [I drank]," he says.

Good diet is, in fact, a major factor in the stature of his countrymen.

"We have also the welfare state and an excellent health care system and we also have low levels of social inequality, which also has been shown to increase a nation's height," he says, "But our study also suggests that, on top of those things, natural selection may also have a role."

There is no concrete explanation for why taller Dutch people have more children. But Stulp has a few guesses.

"One reason might be that, for some reason, Dutch value height a little bit more in their partner," he says. "Height may [also] be associated to variables like health and income a little bit more strongly in the Netherlands or the United States."

He adds the data was controlled for ethnicity.

Asked if Dutch men, like himself, are simply more attractive mates, he demurred.

"Well, I have my own experiences, but it might have something to do with attractiveness indeed."
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 11:11 am
I just read something else re tallness and nutrition, saying it's more genes than nutrition - I don't know re the source, but results interesting:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/short-ups-risk-heart-attack-study-article-1.2178735


Oops, yes I do, that's in the New England Journal of Medicine.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 11:33 am
When you look at sizes over centuries I believe that there will be a average size.We simply cannot continue to get taller and taller as the body is not made for it.
When I take a look at the size of Swedes.

Size of men size of women Difference between
men and women
167 cm 156 cm 4000 years ago 11 cm
173 cm 150 cm 1000 years ago Viking time 23 cm
169 cm 156 cm around 1500 13 cm
163 cm 152 cm arond 1800 11 cm
169 cm 157 cm around 1850 8 cm
180 cm 164 cm 1976 16 cm
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
  1. Forums
  2. » The Dutch are getting taller ... what? why?
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 10/16/2019 at 10:02:28