Mapping the Mountains of Giants: Anthropometric Data from the Western Balkans Reveal a Nucleus of Extraordinary Physical Stature in Europe
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|MU Faculty or unit
|Dinaric Alps; Europe; height; genetics; Y haplogroups; GWAS
|The inhabitants of the Dinaric Alps (former Yugoslavia and Albania) have long been known as people of impressive body height, but after World War II, there was a critical lack of data related to this phenomenon. This anthropological synthesis includes the measurements of 47,158 individuals (24,642 males and 22,516 females) from the period 2010–2018 and maps detail regional differences in male stature in the Western Balkans. According to these data, young men from Mon-tenegro (182.9 cm) are currently the tallest 18-year-olds in the world, surpassing their Dutch peers (182.4 cm), and 18-year-old boys from Dalmatia are even taller (183.7 cm).at a regional level. A con-tinuous belt of extraordinary height means (>184 cm) stretches from the Adriatic coast of Dalmatia through Herzegovina to the central part of Montenegro. This article summarizes all the key socio-economic, nutritional, and genetic data, and offers possible explanations for this anthropological phenomenon. Since the remarkable height of the Dinaric populations cannot be connected with any commonly known environmental factor, the most probable hypothesis is genetic and links these physical characteristics with the local founder effect of Y haplogroup I-M170. Furthermore, given that both the level of socio-economic development and dietary protein quality are still sub-optimal, the local upward trend in body height has the potential to continue in the future.