The Dutch have gained nearly eight inches in height over the past 200 years to become some of the tallest people in the world, and the reason behind this growth may have to do with natural selection.
According to a new study, taller men had more kids on average, and taller women had lower infant mortality rates, both of which likely impacted later generations.
For their research, a team analyzed information from a database called LifeLines which contains data about more than 94,500 northern Netherlands residents during the period 1935 to 1967.
After narrowing down the sample to include only those older than 45 with Dutch-born parents, they found that men who were about 2 and three-quarter inches taller than average were also the most fertile, recording an average of 0.24 more children than the lowest group.
While higher reproduction rates were found in pairings of taller men and average height women, the children born to taller women had a high survival rate.
In addition to these natural selection-related factors, their height may be attributed to their meat- and dairy-rich diet and a strong health care system.