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Anthropological research of Sport Potential in Dinaric Alps

Anthropological research of Sport Potential in Dinaric Alps

There is currently an interesting project at FSpS taking place in Dinaric Alps, former Yugoslavia. It consists of measuring the height and body proportions of local students of age between 17 and 20. Body height is the limiting factor for the most of the sport sectors and reaching elite performances, therefore it is also one of the criteria for choosing future sport talents. (Palao et al, 2008).

The inhabitants of Dinaric Alps are currently one of the tallest people in the world. Dinaric Alps, which are located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and in partially in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Albania, could be an exclusive region for certain sports thanks to the numbers of people with height above average. An interesting fact is that within that territory many regional differences regarding height had occurred. (Grasgruber, et al. 2014; Pineau et al. 2005) There have been no detail researches when it comes to this, even though it could be a key to unraveling this phenomenon.

Scientists from FSpS presume that it might be caused by their genetic roots which are a heritage from the paleolithic „mammoth hunters“ who came from so-called Gravettian culture and are also authors of famous Venus of Dolní Věstonice. Their genes might also be affected by socio-economical and nutritional factors. The research also includes collecting various data about their parents and other basic economic information about individual regions.

The Anthropological reaearch is taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and  on Adriatic coast of Croatia  since April 2015 in cooperation with the University of Montenegro.This reasearch in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was implemented by scientists from FSpS is the largest  one on this territory since 1895 and it also comprised measuring of 3192 boys from 97 schools in 37 towns. In the first half of 2017 this measuring was also preformed on the coast of Croatia. Authors of the project expect consequent research in other regions of Serbia, Slovenia and mainland Croatia. Research sample includes proximetly 200 – 300 boys in each region (Canton) from wide spectrum of highschools – from apprentice schools to grammar schools. Every participant undergoes measuring of bodyheight, height in sitting position and an arm span. At the same time there will be a non-standardized personality test distributed among the participants.

The results of the research in Bosnia and Herzegovina were shared in professional journal Royal Society Open Science and had a very good international response. Average height in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 181,2 cm, which would make this country one of the ten tallest in the world. However, regional differences are significant and can be up to 5 cm. Local muslims are visibly shorter than  Croats and Serbs living in the same regions and even towns.Some of the statistics show that it might be sue to different consumption of pork which muslims do not eat because of their religion. Genetic factors are probably more accuratebecause inhabitants of Herzegovina are taller than Bosnians mo matter their ethnicity. Young men from Herzegovina with their height of 183,4 cm are even not so far from the height of  Dutch men (183,8 cm) who are officially the tallest nation in the world. Collegues from the University of Montenegro measured the same numbers in Montenegro and very similiar results so far are also in a project of FSpS in Dalmatia. Residents of the Dinar Alps would probably be much taller than the rich Dutch but thei genetic potentialhas not been fully used due to poverty and poor quality of their nutrition.

The British newspaper Daily Mail recently quoted one of the research investigators Paul Grasgruber in his article.