April 27, 2013

As women live longer and have fewer children, they are becoming taller and slimmer

A Durham University study of people living in rural Gambia shows that the modern-day “demographic transition” towards living longer and having fewer children may also lead women to be taller and slimmer.

The findings in Gambia, published today in the journal Current Biology, may have relevance around the globe.

Dr Ian Rickard, Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, worked with Alexandre Courtiol of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany to show that changes in mortality and fertility rates in Gambia, likely related to improvements in medical care since a clinic opened there in 1974, have changed the way that natural selection acts