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Why are Europeans much taller than the rest of the world?

Before people argue with the question assumptions—they are valid on a country-level comparison:

All of the countries with the tallest men are either in Europe, or majority-European settlers. Many majority-European nations have had a decrease in average height due to immigration over the last 50 years.

Nutrition is an obvious factor—African Americans are much taller on average than the people in most West African countries. There is significant admixture between European Americans and African Americans, but the difference is large enough that nutrition has to play a role. A more obvious example is North Koreans and South Koreans, who have large height differences, but have not been separate populations for long.

Nutrition however, does not explain everything. South Koreans are shorter than Europeans and they are not particularly malnourished.

Robinson et al (2015) found a correlation between the frequency of various genes, and average height, within Europe. The effect size was moderate (r=.51; p<.0001).

There could be a variety of reasons for this. Robinson et al found several genes corresponding to height, but did not say explicitly what type of quote ‘selection’ they believe is causing it.

A large driver of ethnic differences in human beings is sexual selection. Some of this is nature-driven, but a lot of it is cultural. Certain features are perceived as attractive, and then—whether or not those features actually are beneficial to survival—people with those features are much more likely to reproduce.

Some of the height variation across the planet is probably just some cultures perceiving height to be sexually attractive of one gender or another. If you notice, South Korean women are as tall as European women but South Korean and Japanese men are much shorter than European men. I can speculate that at some point, for a long period of time, height was viewed as attractive in women in South Korea, but not to the same extent in other parts of East Asia, and this speculation is not unreasonable.

Cultural sexual selection even happens outside of humans. At some point Peacock females started viewing males with longer feathers as more attractive, and over generations, Peacock males with long feathers reproduced more, and eventually Peacock males developed absurdly long feathers even though they are detrimental to their survival.

Another possible influence is Neanderthal admixture. European populations have some Neanderthal admixture, and East Asians have the highest. I happen to have 303 Neanderthal markers.

Most Europeans have over 300.

Two Neanderthal markers in particular RS7544462, and RS1877547 have been associated with increased height—I have neither.

I am not sure whether these two Neanderthal markers are more common in European populations or not, but maybe.

The reasons are probably all of the following:

  1. Sexual selection (Europeans being more likely to reproduce if they are taller for arbitrary cultural reasons)
  2. Natural selection (Europeans being more likely to survive to reproduce if they are taller in a harsh climate that generally does not require climbing trees)
  3. Nutrition (less of a factor over time as more countries become rich)
  4. Non-human admixture during the last Ice Age and perhaps earlier


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Do you think that Europeans are taller than Americans?

#Science #Society #Quora

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
25 Comments
ninakamwene
Interesting. There are tribes in central Africa who average 7 feet tall. Most Afghan and Iraqs are quite tall. The Sikhs are also tall. It is 1st genetics and then food. Notice most immigrants kids from the south or Asia are taller than their parents. In my case I am Kenyan 5&#39;2&quot; Harve a Kiwi is 6&#39; 2&#39;&quot;and our daughter is 5&#39; 7&quot; and a hybrid. It is heathy to go out of one&#39;s gene pool.
17
Sep 5, 2019 1:12AM
Darlene Davidson
It was long observed in Europe, that the children of butchers and bakers were taller and heavier than the children of other tradesmen. Protein. The first generation of Japanese people born in North America were taller than their parents. Protein. Tall people often marry tall people so you end up with a taller population.
5
Feb 3, 2020 8:00PM
Betty Wiendels
johnpburkhardt, I am a 63 yr old Dutch Canadian and 5’7 1/2” tall. My 42 yr old daughter Tanya is 5’9” tall. My younger sisters Maria and Pauline are taller than me. Our sister Tilly is the shortest. I am taller than my late mom who also was taller than her late mother. My daughter Tanya is even taller than me. Every generation tends to be taller. Right?
0
Oct 15, 2021 5:43PM
Betty Wiendels
Jennifer Dyster, My partner Paul aged 61 who bounced around in foster care is very tall and 6’2 tall. He loves eating a lot! He is a big meat eater. Protein.
0
Oct 15, 2021 5:20PM
Betty Wiendels
Darlene Davidson, Good to know! Interesting!
0
Oct 15, 2021 5:15PM
Darlene Davidson
ninakamwene, I agree that it is healthy to go out of one&#39;s gene pool.My genetics professor frequently talked about hybrid vigor. I have seen much to support this in the more than 40 years since I first heard him say it.
0
Oct 10, 2021 8:00PM
calvinroyorlandi
Peacocks with short feathers do just fine.
0
Oct 5, 2021 4:54PM
jch
jch
The author&#39;s opinion gives &quot;food for thought.&quot; However, he tends to favor Europeans on the height scale. There are tall people all over the world though they may just part of the general population. I think selection( sexual partners) and high protein eaters become the tallest. Race is only minimal.
0
Apr 10, 2021 11:48AM
lxixwithu
Remember...Most of the time you spend in the bathroom, European.
1
Aug 24, 2020 6:12PM
Darlene Davidson
ninakamwene, I always remember my Genetics professor saying Hybrid vigour. He knew what he was talking about.
1
Feb 3, 2020 8:02PM
Pepi Keegan
sanman, Go get an education!
2
Jan 14, 2020 7:03AM
Peter Robertson
johnpburkhardt, No,they are just the tallest race on Earth. South African white people are also very tall (Dutch descent) New Zealanders who were once among the tallest are not so now as there has been a large immigration of Asian people to the country.Now 15% of the population are of that ethnicity.
1
Dec 17, 2019 8:12PM
Lupe Hernandez
sanman, In your dreams,..... real men don&#39;t need to brag. Your inane comments are not welcome here,
1
Dec 4, 2019 8:27PM
Jennifer Dyster
The reason Americans are not ranked so well is that they are no good at distributing wealth. If everyone on a country has access to food shelter medical care the average height will be more as all reach their genetic potential. The other factor is stress. You stop growing during dreadful periods in your life as a child eg being put into foster care. Which reduces your adult height.
0
Oct 14, 2019 9:24PM
Ian Alec Gregory
The spaniards and portugese are quite short people.
1
Aug 25, 2019 6:58PM

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