A couple of weeks ago Yahoo had an article about National Geographic’s research to find the most typical person in the world. You can see the video here. National Geographic decided the most typical human was a 28 year old Han Chinese Man. That the most typical human was Chinese, did not surprise me in the least as China is the most populous country in the world.
What did surprise me is that that person was male. I studied biology and I remember the statistics. More males are born than females; maybe 105 males born to 100 females born. But because males have X and Y chromosomes and females possess two X chromosomes, more males die in infancy and childhood, such that by the time the male reaches 18 years of age, there are more females to males. “X-linked inherited diseases occur far more frequently in males because they only have one X chromosome. Females must receive a copy of the gene from both parents to have such a recessive disease.” (I could not have said it better myself, so I stole this quote from Wikipedia.) This is one reason why more males die in infancy and childhood. Another is accidents are higher for males. This website called “Our Stolen Future“, quotes reputable journals like The Lancet, which talk about the number of males being born in some populations as being reduced by environmental factors, which mean there should be even fewer men.
And more men are killed in occupational accidents and wars. Men tend to die earlier than women worldwide.
Women tend to have a lower mortality rate at every age. In the womb, male fetuses have a higher mortality rate (babies are conceived in a ratio of about 124 males to 100 females, but the ratio of those surviving to birth is only 105 males to 100 females). Among the smallest premature babies (those under 2 pounds or 900 g) females again have a higher survival rate. At the other extreme, about 90% of individuals aged 110 are female. The difference in life expectancy between men and women in the United States dropped from 7.8 years in 1979 to 5.3 years in 2005, with women expected to live to age 80.1 in 2005.
(From Wikepedia) This article goes on to say that women dying in childbirth used to make up a significant loss of females in the world, but that is no longer the case.
Now how does this make a 28 year old man as the typical human on the earth? That is the real question and something National Geographic failed to address.
I think parents of adopted children, know some reasons are infanticide, sex selected abortion, and valuing women less than men in many countries, such that it is OK to murder a woman suspected of adultery in some countries. This killing of women is called “Honor Killing”. “The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that perhaps as many as 5,000 women and girls a year are killed by members of their own families. Many women’s groups in the Middle East and Southwest Asia suspect the victims are at least four times more. Z ” (Wikipedia)
So it all adds up. With females being aborted and killed, there are enough females lost to make the typical person in the world a male. This is quite significant. I am saddened that this was not addressed by National Geographic. Yes it is interesting to see what a typical person looks like, but that is not important. What is important is what the finding is telling us about the number of females in the world. National Geographic should do a little research into the why of these statistics rather than just the who and where. With the audience of both Yahoo and National Georgraphic, they could help bring more attention to the sad fact of what the lower value of girls and women means to world population.