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Queen's University


crowdAnn McKellar (PhD student, Queens) and Andrew Hendry (McGill) find that humans vary much less than most animals in  body height implicating strong selection pressures in ancestral environments.

Humans may seem, at least superficially, to possess a large amount of morphological variation in comparison to animal groups. Using a large dataset (close to 100 human populations and >800 animal populations) of published studies, Queen’s PhD student Ann McKellar and McGill Professor Andrew Hendry compared morphological variation in humans versus other animal species. They found that humans show considerably variation in body height (or length) within populations than do non-human animals – in contrast, humans show typical levels of within-population body mass variation, as well as among-population body height and mass variation. The researchers suggest that natural and sexual selection could have eroded height variation within, but not among, human populations. Humans might thus have evolved on a rugged adaptive landscape for height, with strong selection for particular height optima that differ among populations. See article in Wired for more information | here |.

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