Auxology

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Auxology,(from Greek αὔξω, auxō, or αὐξάνω, auxanō, "grow"; and -λογία, -logia ), is a meta-term covering the study of all aspects of human physical growth. (Although, it is also fundamental of biology.) [1] Auxology is a multi-disciplinary science involving health sciences/medicine (pediatrics, general practice, endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, physiology, epidemiology), and to a lesser extent: nutrition, genetics, anthropology, anthropometry, ergonomics, history, economic history, economics, socio-economics, sociology, public health, and psychology, among others.

Contents

History of Auxology

""Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians left some writings on child growth and variation in height between ethnic groups. In the late 18th century, scattered documents of child growth started to appear in the scientific literature, the studies of Jamberts in 1754 and the annual measurements of the son of Montbeillard published by Buffon in 1777 being the most cited ones [1]. Louis René Villermé (1829) was the first to realize that growth and adult height of an individual depend on the country’s socio-economic situation. In the 19th century, the number of growth studies rapidly increased, with increasing interest also in growth velocity [2]. Günther documented monthly height increments in a group of 33 boys of various ages [3]. Kotelmann [4] first noted the adolescent growth spurt. In fact, the adolescent growth spurt appears to be a novel achievement in the history of human growth and the amount and intensity of the spurt seems to be greatest in tall and affluent populations [5]. By the beginning of the 20th century, national growth tables were published for most European nations with data for height, weight, and attempts to relate weight and height, though none of these were references in the proper sense of the word as the data were usually derived from small and unrepresentative samples. After the 1930s X-ray imaging of hand and wrist became popular for determining bone age. Current auxo-logical knowledge is based on the large national studies performed in the 1950s, 1960s and the 1970s, many of them inaugurated by James Tanner [1]. In the late 1970s a new school of anthropometric history [6] emerged among historians and economists. The main aim of this school was to evaluate secular changes in conscript height during the last 100–200 years and to associate them with socio-economic changes and political events in the different countries [7]. In the 1980s and the 1990s new mathematical approaches have been added of which the LMS method has strongly been recommended for constructing modern growth reference tables [8,9]: M stands for mean, S stands for a scaling parameter, and L stands for the Box-Cox power that is required to transform the skewed data to normality. Meanwhile, many national and international growth references are based on this technology. And in view of the general idea of growth and adult height being a mirror of nutritional status, health and wealth [10], these techniques have generally been accepted for routine screening pro-grams in Public Health. Anthropometry has also been considered essential for security purposes, for the usability of industrial products, and it has become routine for car and clothing industries, for furniture, housing, and many other aspects of design in the modern environment. Growth is defined as an increase in size over time. But the rigid metric of physical time is not directly related to the tempo at which an organism develops, matures and ages. Calendar time differs in its meaning in a fast maturing and in a slow maturing organism. Fast maturing children appear tall and “older” than their calendar age suggests, late maturers appear “too young” and often short even though both may later reach the same adult size. Whereas metric scales exist for height, weight and other amplitude parameters, there are no continuous scales for maturation and developmental tempo. Instead we are used to work with substitutes like the 5-step Tanner scale for staging puberty, and age equivalents for describing bone..." is an excerpt taken from Human Growth and Development by Borms, J., R. Hauspie, A. Sand, C. Susanne, and M. Hebbelinck, eds [2]

From the taken section above we can see that ancient cultures left writings and indicators of growth from childhood into adulthood, such as the Ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. Though it wouldn't been until the later part of the 1700s that it would appear in scientific literature in the light of the Age of Enlightenment. [3] A movement of philosophical and scientific advancement and understanding that dominated the western world in the 18th century. As the ideals and respect of science and mathematics grew we see such men as Louis-René Villermé [4] a physician and economist begin to take interest and realize the growth of individuals into adulthood had factors in their socio-economic situation and status. From there the study would continue to grow at a rapid rate.

Contemporaries would then catch on reaching from the interest in Growth chart [5] which kept marks on growth velocity into more medical sided interest for public health in the sense of tracking one's own growth and health to set standards.

Auxology in Relation to Anthropology

As Biological anthropology [6] is a sub-field of anthropology [7] that provides insight into the biological/physical perspective of human beings and our ancestors, one can easily see how auxology relates to the anthropological fields. This can be seen through the study of physical human development and growth to the slight Sexual dimorphism [8] within Human [9] along with the maturing of the body such as the physical change from childhood into adulthood.

Auxology can also be used in the comparing of remains such as that of Neanderthal, Homo habilis and Australopithecus afarensis to any relation of Hominidae.

Notable Auxologists

See also

Related Research Articles

Anthropology Scientific study of humans, human behavior and societies

Anthropology is the scientific study of humans, human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology studies patterns of behaviour and cultural anthropology studies cultural meaning, including norms and values. Linguistic anthropology studies how language influences social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans. Visual anthropology, which is usually considered to be a part of social anthropology, can mean both ethnographic film as well as the study of "visuals", including art, visual images, cinema etc. Oxford Bibliographies describes visual anthropology as "the anthropological study of the visual and the visual study of the anthropological".

A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language and then to denote national affiliations. By the 17th century the term began to refer to physical (phenotypical) traits. Modern scholarship regards race as a social construct, an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society. While partially based on physical similarities within groups, race does not have an inherent physical or biological meaning.

Anthropometry human physiometrics

Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual. An early tool of physical anthropology, it has been used for identification, for the purposes of understanding human physical variation, in paleoanthropology and in various attempts to correlate physical with racial and psychological traits. Anthropometry involves the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body, primarily dimensional descriptors of body size and shape. Since commonly used methods and approaches in analysing living standards were not helpful enough, the anthropometric history became very useful for historians in answering questions that interested them.

An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present societies. Social anthropology, cultural anthropology and philosophical anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life, while economic anthropology studies human economic behavior. Biological (physical), forensic and medical anthropology study the biological development of humans, the application of biological anthropology in a legal setting and the study of diseases and their impacts on humans over time, respectively.

Forensic anthropology Application of the science of anthropology in a legal setting

Forensic anthropology is the application of the anatomical science of anthropology and its various subfields, including forensic archaeology and forensic taphonomy, in a legal setting. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased individuals whose remains are decomposed, burned, mutilated or otherwise unrecognizable, as might happen in a plane crash. Forensic anthropologists are also instrumental in the investigation and documentation of genocide and mass graves. Along with forensic pathologists, forensic dentists, and homicide investigators, forensic anthropologists commonly testify in court as expert witnesses. Using physical markers present on a skeleton, a forensic anthropologist can potentially determine a person's age, sex, stature, and ancestry. This is useful in identifying living individuals for legal purposes such as undocumented immigrants. This is extremely important in legal cases where the court needs to decide if they will judge an undocumented individual as an adult or a minor. In addition to identifying physical characteristics of the individual, forensic anthropologists can use skeletal abnormalities to potentially determine cause of death, past trauma such as broken bones or medical procedures, as well as diseases such as bone cancer.

Human height or stature is the distance from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head in a human body, standing erect. It is measured using a stadiometer, usually in centimetres when using the metric system, or feet and inches when using the imperial system.

Cuteness subjective term describing a type of attractiveness commonly associated with youth and appearance

Cuteness is a subjective term describing a type of attractiveness commonly associated with youth and appearance, as well as a scientific concept and analytical model in ethology, first introduced by Konrad Lorenz. Lorenz proposed the concept of baby schema (Kindchenschema), a set of facial and body features, that make a creature appear "cute" and activate ("release") in others the motivation to care for it. Cuteness may be ascribed to people as well as things that are regarded as attractive or charming.

Short stature refers to a height of a human which is below typical. Whether a person is considered short depends on the context. Because of the lack of preciseness, there is often disagreement about the degree of shortness that should be called short.

The anthropometry of the upper arm is a set of measurements of the shape of the upper arms.

The MacArthur Fellows Program, MacArthur Fellowship, commonly but unofficially known as a "Genius Grant", is a prize awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation typically to between 20 and 30 individuals, working in any field, who have shown "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" and are citizens or residents of the United States.

John Komlos American economic historian

John Komlos is an American economic historian of Hungarian descent and former holder of the Chair of Economic History at the University of Munich for eighteen years. In the 1980s, Komlos was instrumental in the emergence of anthropometric history, the study of the effect of economic development on human biological outcomes such as physical stature.

Biocultural anthropology can be defined in numerous ways. It is the scientific exploration of the relationships between human biology and culture. "Instead of looking for the underlying biological roots of human behavior, biocultural anthropology attempts to understand how culture affects our biological capacities and limitations."

Louis-René Villermé French economist

Louis-René Villermé was a French economist and physician. He was known for his early studies of social epidemiology, or the effects of socioeconomic status on health, in early industrial France, and was an advocate for hygienic reform in factories and prisons. His work is considered pivotal in the history of the fields of sociology and statistical inquiry, and he is considered a founder of epidemiology.

Barry Bogin is an American physical anthropologist trained at Temple University who researches physical growth in Guatemalan Maya children, and is a theorist upon the evolutionary origins of human childhood. He is a professor at Loughborough University in the UK, after professorships at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Wayne State University. During 1974–1976, he was a visiting Professor at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala.

Michael Hermanussen is a German pediatrician and professor at the University of Kiel. He is known for his work on growth and nutrition.

Somatotype is a taxonomy developed in the 1940s by American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon to categorize the human physique according to the relative contribution of three fundamental elements which he termed 'somatotypes', classified by him as 'ectomorphic', 'mesomorphic' and 'endomorphic'. He named these after the three germ layers of embryonic development: the endoderm,, the mesoderm, and the ectoderm. Later variations of the methodology, developed by his original research assistant Barbara Heath, and later Lindsay Carter and Rob Rempel are still in occasional academic use.

Richard L. Jantz is an American anthropologist. He served as the director of the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility from 1998–2011 and he is the current Professor Emeritus of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research focuses primarily on forensic anthropology, skeletal biology, dermatoglyphics, anthropometry, anthropological genetics, and human variation, as well as developing computerized databases in these areas which aid in anthropological research. The author of over a hundred journal articles and other publications, his research has helped lead and shape the field of physical and forensic anthropology for many years.

Below are average adult human heights by country or geographical region. The original studies and sources should be consulted for details on methodology and the exact populations measured, surveyed, or considered.

Anthropometric history is the study of the history of human height and weight. It has historical roots. In the 1830s, Adolphe Quetelet and Louis R. Villermé studied the physical stature of populations. In the 1960s, French historians analyzed the relationship between socio-economic variables and human height. Anthropometric history was established as field of study in the late 1970s when economic historians Robert Fogel, John Komlos, Richard Steckel and other academics began to study the history of human physical stature and its relationship to economic development. A branch of cliometrics, it uses trends and cross-sectional patterns in human physical stature to understand historical processes.

B. Holly Smith is an American biological anthropologist. She is currently a research professor in the Center for Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at The George Washington University. She is also a visiting research professor at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. The majority of her work is concentrated in evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology, life history, and dental anthropology.

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