Chosun Dynasty Men Taller than North Koreans

Park Seong Guk  |  2012-01-31 17:21
The average height of a North Korean today appears to be shorter than that of his or her ancestors from the Chosun Dynasty, based on groundbreaking research into Chosun Dynasty average heights.

In the research, published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Professor Hwang Yong Il and Shin Dong Hun from the Seoul National University Department of Anatomy collected thighbones from the remains of 116 people (67 male, 49 female) from the Chosun Dynasty period (15th-19th century); they then analyzed their average lengths and extrapolated average heights of 161.1cm for males (5.6cm) and 148.9cm for females (4.6cm).

This makes Chosun Dynasty people 12.9cm and 11.6cm shorter than South Korean people of today as surveyed by the Ministry of Knowledge Economys Agency for Technology and Standards,

However, 2010 data from the same Agency for Technology and Standards estimated the average height of all North Koreans at 158cm through 164cm. The 2005 East Asian Statistic Almanac, meanwhile, stated the average North Korean males height as 158cm. If the lower figures were correct, it would make the North Korean shorter than his Chosun Dynasty ancestor.

One North Korean defector who entered into South Korea in 2010 said this figure may even be too high, and that North Koreans could be even smaller on average than predicted, pointing out, I was surprised that my children grew 3cm taller after eating well in China after months of starving in North Korea.
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