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Sunday, 20 November 2011

'Average' height yields most children

Forget the "Tall, dark, and handsome" myth. If you are an Average Joe like me, you'll apparently have more babies or so the latest research suggests.

From left: John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett

What role does height have in the number of children?
Scientists studying men in the US said those who were 178cm (5ft 10in) were the most reproductively successful.Writing in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, they said such men produced, on average, more than two-and-a-half children. The authors said it might be due to men of average height marrying earlier.

There have been studies which suggest that women prefer a taller man, such as those looking at the choices made during speed or online dating. Gert Stulp, one of the researchers at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, said that in Western societies it had been thought that taller men also had the most children. He reviewed previous studies on height and children as well as publishing new data from the Wisconsin Study, which followed school leavers in 1957 for the next 50 years. There was data on 3,578 men.

Mr Stulp told the BBC: "Contrary to popular belief, tall men do not have most reproductive success. It is average-height men who have the most reproductive success." In the study of US men, it seems one possible explanation is in the marriage data. "It really seems average height men get a partner earlier than both shorter and taller men, so this is a possible mechanism.

So there you have it. Mr. Average is the winner in this one!

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