• Sexual dimorphism;
  • Marriage practices;
  • Height;
  • Human societies;
  • Monogamy;
  • Polygyny;
  • Protein


In this study, which is concerned with the varying degrees of sexual dimorphism of stature between human societies, adult male and female height measurements and male-female height ratios – the measure of sexual dimorphism – from 216 societies are statistically compared with several variables: marriage practices, protein availability, the presence of milking herds, settlement size, and climate. Our results indicate that while greater mean male height is associated with polygynous marriage, marriage practices did not exert an influence on the degree of sexual dimorphism of stature. On the other hand, the results suggest that while sexual dimorphism in height has a strong genetic component, dietary factors can influence the degree of dimorphism.