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, 47 (4), 253-66

Human Size Evolution: No Evolutionary Allometric Relationship Between Male and Female Stature

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Human Size Evolution: No Evolutionary Allometric Relationship Between Male and Female Stature

Anders Gustafsson et al. J Hum Evol.

Abstract

In many animal groups, sexual size dimorphism tends to be more pronounced in species with large body size. Similarly, in a previous cross-cultural analysis, male and female stature in humans were shown to be positively allometrically related, indicating a similar relationship where populations with larger stature were more dimorphic. In this study, we re-examine the hypothesis of an allometric relationship between the sexes using phylogenetic methodology. First, however, we tested whether there exist phylogenetic signals in male and female stature. Data on mean stature from 124 human populations was gathered from the literature. A phylogenetic test showed that male and female stature were significantly associated with phylogeny. These results indicate that comparative methods that to some degree incorporate genetic relatedness between populations are crucial when analyzing human size evolution in a cross-cultural context. Further, neither non-phylogenetic nor phylogenetic analyses revealed any allometric relationship between male and female stature. Thus, we found no support for the idea that sexual dimorphism increases with increasing stature in humans.

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