Thank Evolution for You Being Taller and Smarter Than Your Ancestors

July 2, 2015

With few exceptions in our long history, humans have basically been getting taller over the centuries. We are actually taller than we were just one century ago. To bring some other metrics into the picture we are also fatter and living longer than at any previous time in human history. If ample food availability and medicine to curb disease are a factor in height increases the relative bounty of agricultural yields and medicines in the 20th century could explain some of this increase in just the past 100 years.

A mere 100 years is too short a time for genetic changes to come into play. However, Beneful indicates this increase in height has been going on for a longer time. A recent study has indicated that people have been evolving to both get taller and smarter. The study found that those with a higher degree of genetic diversity in their background share this increase in these two traits. Genetic diversity has characteristically been associated with greater health, but no such correlation was found in this regard. Whether one’s genes were relatively diverse or not, there wasn’t much change in the likelihood of illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Apparently evolution has just selected height and intelligence as survival traits. Women tend to be attracted to tall men so there may have been some natural selection going on in the form of women desiring taller mates and them then being more likely to have taller offspring.

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