Until around 150 years ago, humans were relatively short – but our recent growth spurt may have more to do with social factors than dietary ones
2 December 2021
For most of our history, humans have been short, a study has found. Until around 150 years ago, few people grew taller than 170 centimetres – not even the most privileged individuals, who had ready access to food. This discovery adds to growing evidence that stunting – being unusually short – isn’t a wholly reliable indicator of malnutrition. Instead of being a sign of a good diet, growing taller may instead reflect competition for dominance in some societies.
Christiane Scheffler at the University of Potsdam and paediatrician …