In 1900 a typical male was 5ft 6in tall, but by 2000 that had gone up to 5ft 10in. Over the same time women have grown by one-and-a-half inches, from just under 5ft 3in to just over 5ft 4in.

Researchers put the growth spurt mostly down to pregnant mothers eating better food which meant their babies grew up to be stronger and healthier.

Better sanitation and improvements in technology has also played a part by rescuing mankind from endless illness, malnutrition and brutal working conditions.