Science - April 16, 2015

Tall story

Small may be beautiful but not so good for your health. Tall people run less risk of a heart attack, suggests a study at the University of Leicester. In figures: 6.5 cm extra height means 13.5 less chance of cardiovascular disease. The difference lies in our genes, say the researchers. So you can’t do anything about it. But you do look at your shorter and taller fellow humans with new eyes.

Tall story 2
Tall men have more children than short men, suggests a British study among tall people from the Dutch provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. On average, they have 0.24 more children. The researchers guess this is the work of evolution. Apparently the genes for height go together with another evolutionary advantage. Perhaps because fewer of them die of heart attacks?

Is your ring finger (R) longer than your forefinger (D)? Then you are probably an above average long distance runner. British researchers (Cambridge) measured this R/D ration in all the runners in a half marathon in Nottingham. The 10 percent with the highest ratio was almost half an hour faster than the lowest 10 percent. In women the difference was half as much, about 12 minutes. Get measuring then.

The difference in finger length is a result of raised exposure to testosterone in the uterus. ‘The more testosterone, the higher the R/D. These men are more successful in reproduction. An evolution thing. Women fell for the best hunters – and thus for the best runners. That was then. The big question now is: do women still fall for good runners? Cambridge doesn’t answer that one.