The standard reasons for why the people of southern Sudan or northern Europe are tall is that their height is climatically adaptive (greater surface area: volume for the slim Dinka, while the Swedes tend to be more robust and so reduce their ratio). I wonder, has anyone done work that indicates that populations that have practiced cereal agriculture longer might be on average smaller (Syrians and Swedes for instance have thousands of years between them, and the type of agriculture practiced differs)?
My reasoning (which might be fallacious, I would like to know from someone more in the know than I): Taller men tend to be preferred by women the world over, so why are some groups taller than others? There must be something that favors short men. Perhaps with the onset of cereal agriculture and the drop in protein intake and the periodic reality of famine, larger men were more likely to die of malnutrition than shorter men who could make it through lean times because of their lower caloric needs. Anyone done work on this area?
(note-I don’t discount the climatic explainations, I just wonder if this might be another factor. Also, please realize that I am not a “heightist” who believes in the inferiority of short men! It is just a fact that women prefer taller ones)