Monday, September 19, 2005

Medieval Height   posted by DavidB @ 9/19/2005 02:38:00 AM

I have occasionally discussed the subject of long-term increases in average height, so I was interested to see an article in today's London Times, here. (Link may expire after a week for non-subscribers.) The drift of it is that average adult height in Britain, as measured from skeletal remains, has not changed very much since Neolithic times. Contrary to popular assumption, people in the Middle Ages were not much shorter than today. There has been a small increase (an inch or so) in recent decades due to better nutrition, but it's not such a big deal.

I think this may somewhat underestimate the increase since the 19th century. Most sources put this at at least a couple of inches. There in some evidence that average height fell in industrial areas during the harshest period of the Industrial Revolution, before rising again from the late 19th century onwards, so the increase since medieval times may indeed only be an inch or so.

While on the subject of press reports, I can't resist repeating the classic headline from Sunday's Ă¼ber-tabloid, The News of the World: 'Cocaine Kate's 3-in-Bed Lesbian Orgy'. (The 'Kate' is Kate Moss, in case you hadn't guessed.) Nothing to do with GNXP, but it's a dream come true!