Scientist Studies Why the Dutch Are So Tall

The Dutch are, on average, the tallest people on earth and scientist Gert Stulp is trying to figure out why. The Dutch weren’t always tall. In fact, in the 1800’s they were shorter than Americans on average. Now, the average Dutch male is over six feet tall.

Stulp collected data on a number of variables to try and discover why. He found out that one factor is that taller people in the Netherlands tend to have more children than shorter people. By doing so, they pass on their genes. Also, nutrition and healthcare – factors involved in determining height – are better in the Netherlands than elsewhere in the world. Stulp himself is six foot seven and Dutch, so I guess he has a personal interest in understanding the issue.

I’m not sure that there’s any real advantage to being tall, and Sergio Cortes isn’t so sure either. It looks impressive and helps on the basketball court, but beyond that it doesn’t do much for an individual. It’s worth studying why some societies are taller than others, though. The more we know about how evolution works in different societies the better. I also wonder if humans as a whole will continue to grow taller in coming years.

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