Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nicole Veru 4/10/15
Biology Current Events

Zimmer, Carl. "Natural Selection May Help Account for Dutch Height Advantage." The New
York Times. The New York Times, 08 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

This article is about how Dutch people on average are the tallest in the world. In the pst, Dutch people have been relatively short compared to the rest of the world so this result is surprising. This increase in height has two reasonable factors: better health care and diet, but scientists have also found evidence that evolution is assisting in making them taller. In a new study, they used a medical database called LifeLines with profiles of everyone in the Netherlands. Out of the 46,612 people they viewed, they found that men who were taller had more children. An example in the article is that men who were 5’6, in the 1950s had 2.15 children while men who were 6’1” in the same time period had 2.39 children. Genes and natural reasons could also lead to this being established but it also could be natural selection.

This article is relative to society today because people, on average, are much taller than they used to be a few hundred years ago. This affects our lives because in the future people might be significantly taller than we are now and give us a better sense of the evolution of humans. It gives us clues as to what changes are going to be made to the human race in the next few hundred years. We might even be alive to witness a small change. Although height doesn’t seem very important, it could impact the health and functions of society in the future.

This article is useful because it used facts from a study and the opinions of other scientists. The article provides necessary background needed to fully understand the topic and gives interesting statistics. More studies are needed to completely prove this theory but the steps that the scientists are taking are heading in the right direction to determine the evolution course of the human race.


  1. Nicole did a great job by incorporating statistics from the article. Her critique was very thorough and stated that there should be more studies on the evolution of human beings. This would lead to more clues on why Dutch people are so tall. The third way she did well was stating that our height could help us understand the health and functions of society.

    As a dutch child, I know Dutch people are tall because half of my family on my father’s side are over 6 ft. I was surprised when I read the two ways scientists thought why the Dutch were taller: healthcare and diet. I am not sure if she meant healthcare, as in insurance, but if she did that is very strange. I was intrigued that more men over 6’1 in the 1950s had more children than men that were 5’6 and that would lead to one of the explanations. But, the question is: Why did men over 6’1 produce more children?

    One way Nicole could improve her current event would be by stating her opinion on which reason best supports why Dutch people are taller. But, great job Nicole!

  2. Nicole did a great job of critiquing the article by stating all of the elements that it had to make it a good article such as having research to back up the facts. She also told us what the data could mean now and how it could predict the future of the human race. Lastly her summary was detailed and included the main points of the article as well as specific examples that were in the article.
    I found it interesting that Dutch people were not the tallest in the past but have become taller recently because of their better diet and health care. It is also intriguing that men over the height of 6’1” have been having more children than ones that were 5’6”. I wonder if taller women were also having more children than shorter women in the Netherlands at the same time.
    Something that could have been improve was adding her opinion on the findings of the article so we could know her stance on the matter.

  3. Nicole did a great job of taking the key information from her article and sharing them in her review. She added the statistic of taller man having more children than shorter men, which I thought was a great aspect of the paragraph. Nicole provided a great analysis of how the article and this issue effects our lives. To imagine the evolution of humans is something that will never stop is a remarkable thought.
    I thought that the whole premise of the article was fascinating and want to read more about it. It is crazy to thing that humans are still evolving to this day. It was strange that taller men produced more children, which caused me to ask the question why?
    One thing I would say could have been done better is the incorporation of more quotes. This would have made the author’s argument more evident and also proving the reader with more knowledge about the topic. Overall the review was very well done and interesting to read.

  4. Nicole did a good job of including only the most important information from her article. I liked how she did a good job of explaining why her article was relevant to society and affects our lives.

    I found this article to be very interesting. I especially thought it was interesting that men above 6'1" produced more children and men shorter produced less. This made me ask why this is.

    One thing Nicole could have done is include more of her own opinion of the article and possibly her thoughts on why taller men produced more children. In all, Nicole did a great job reviewing her article.


  5. Nicole gave a very clear summary of the article, which made it easy to read her report and lead me to become more interested about the topic. Throughout her summary, she stated the problem, and explained why an increase in height was happening and she gave statistics. In addition, Nicole related the article to humans very well. If I had just read the first paragraph, I would not have picked up the affect it will have on humans. I also found her critique to be well done. She says that more studies need to be done “to determine the evolution course of the human race”, which I agree completely with.
    I had no knowledge of this before, thus, I found it extremely interesting to read about and I am interested to hear more about it. I had no idea that humans were continuously getting taller. I also found it interesting how taller men were producing more than shorter men. I find this to be interesting, but also very strange. I do not understand why this would be the case. Maybe Nicole could have gone farther into that because that is the basis of this idea of evolving to become taller humans.
    Nicole did a very good job with this report. However, this idea is hard to believe after reading just this. If she had added in more evidence from the text, or even add in more quotes, the reader may be able to let them selves believe it. This idea is very interesting and does make sense, but with more evidence the reader will be pulled in even farther. Awesome job!

  6. Nicole, I think you did very well on this article analysis.Some of the things you did very well was on how your overview came together and how smooth it turns out to be. After reading the analyse, I decided to take a look at the article myself. And this was really cool, so your summary was really cool.
    Before reading the summary, I had no idea about any of this. This was really Interesting and something I could really look into in the future and what is to come. I think you brought those facts up nicely.
    Although this analyse was very good, you could have made this better if you add more evidence and more on what you thought of the piece yourself. That could have made this piece ten times better.
    This was really good Nicole! Good Job!

  7. Nicole did a great job on her current event report. Some components of her report that impressed were that she provided the reader with a good sense of growth increase over the last fifty years in the Netherlands. Also, she gave great analysis of how this affects our lives, and how it will affect the future generations of humans. Third, she did an awesome job critiquing the author, saying that he gave sufficient background on this topic. An aspect Nicole could improve on are more statistics of how we may continue to grow in the future, as I am interested in whether or not we will continue to grow at this pace. Also, I would have liked for her to give some background on what is happening in our bodies that makes us get taller throughout generations. An element that fascinates me is that the Dutch used to be relatively short but now are tallest in the world. Great job all-around by Nicole.

  8. I read Nicole's review on the article, "Natural Selection May Help Account for Dutch Height Advantage." by Carl Zimmer. Overall Nicole did a very good job on her analysis. One aspect that I was particularly impressed by was how successfully she was able to summarize the growth increase that has occurred in the Netherlands. She included factual research and evidence to back up her summary, and made it clear for the reader to understand. Nicole also explains the affect this will have on society, which is one of the most important parts as a reader. It allows them to understand the issues relevance, which in this case is about understanding our evolution better. Finally, I thought this critique was well-written and showed a true understanding of the article. I learned a lot from this review. For example, I found it really interesting that taller men were actually found to produce more children than those who are shorter. Also, I was surprised to read that Dutch people used to be relatively short compared to the rest of the world, but now are some of the tallest. Although Nicole did a really good job, I felt the the use of direct quotes from the article would have made the piece more reliable and helped to give us an idea of the authors voice. Otherwise, a really great job!

  9. Comment from Grayson Elder:

    Alexa did a great job on her current event report. I felt that she did many things well. This included, giving a good summary of the experiment performed to support the argument that there is a relationship between someones height and their chance of getting heart disease. Another thing she did well was keeping her report simple, but filled with facts. She didnt put any unnessesary sentences in her report. Lastly, I thought Alexa did a great job with writing her critique of the article, as I was hoping for the same thing in the current event article. Before reading this I had no idea that height could affect heart disease. I also had never known that science is trying to figure out more things like this, and what could cause diseases like this one. I thought alexa could have described more that went on in the article, because her report was on the shorter side.