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Friday, 7 March 2014

Our Male Ancestors Were Also 5'9 On Average

 Note: The following was written by someone else. I simply saved it, but lost the original source.

About the myth that humans select for height in a mate: Our male evolutionary ancestors from 500,000 years ago were on average 5'9.
It seems to be a popular trope on the Internet that women (and even some men) are somehow biologically 'programmed' or 'hardwired' to be attracted towards taller men, or that people are programmed/hardwired to treat tall men better.
This is not true and a falsehood most often used to justify shallowness and/or discrimination in the working place and other venues. Our direct ancestors in the line of human evolution, Homo heidelbergensis, were of the same average height of anatomically modern humans today: five foot nine.
If there was some kind of hardwired selection pressure that had since evolved into modern humans, which appeared around 100 to 150 thousand years ago, you would expect for that pressure to have exerted its influence and for the human race to be significantly taller, or at the very least marginally so, but that is not the case at all.
"But wait! I've seen suits of armor from the middle ages, and they were really small. And I saw that in time of anquitity, humans were much smaller than they are today! So clearly you are wrong about this".

Well, that's not the full story. Yes, there was a fluctuation the last 10,000 years or so up until about a century ago -- but it was not due to anything evolutionary. It was the result of several things, notably the adoption of agrigculture and even more recently the industrial revolution, both which harmed development. But in fact, before the adoption of agriculture, our hunter gatherer human ancestors were still on average around five foot nine as recently as the last ice age. This is still seen in impoverished nations today with populations that do not approach the average height of well nourished nations.

 Evolution via natural selection happens because in theory some traits provide more favorable advantages for survival and/or reproduction, either as functionally useful or desired through sexual selection, and thus increase in frequency in the gene pool over many generations.

This hasn't happened with height. Humans have the same average height they had 15,000 years ago, and 500,000 years ago. This implies that there is neither a functional advantage of height nor a hardwired, biological sexual selection for it, like so many claim. Otherwise there would have been an increase in human stature over the last 500,000 years.

Don't let anyone try and convince you otherwise - any modern day trends in attraction are the result of a ubiquitous media presence that pushes this attitude, that didn't exist until the last century or so.

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