Agricultural specialization and height in ancient and medieval Europe
Land per capita was one important determinant of height in the Malthusian world 0 to 1800 A.D. A second factor was specialization in milk cattle agriculture. It had two positive effects on human stature: first, proximity to protein production resulted in a very low local shadow price of milk, as this important foodstuff could not be transported easily. Second, this low price resulted in a low inequality of nutritional status, whereas, for example, tradable pork contributed to nutritional inequality. For this study, we used a data set of more than two million animal bones to measure specialization in cattle and its impact on stature.
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