Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (01): 149-160.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0056

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

The research process of Chinese anthropometry in the past forty years

LI Yonglan1,2,3(), YU Huixin2, ZHENG Lianbin4()   

  1. 1. College of Life Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022
    2. College of Ethnology and Anthropology, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot, 010022
    3. Key Laboratory of Biodiversity conservation and Sustainable utilization for College and University of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hohhot 010022
    4. College of Life Sciences, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Conservation and Utilization of Animal Diversity, Tianjin 300387
  • Received:2021-12-22 Revised:2022-03-31 Online:2023-02-15 Published:2023-02-20


Since the 1980s, with the continuous promotion and efforts of Wu Rukang, Wu Xinzhi and Xi Huanjiu, Chinese anthropometry has made great strides and developed rapidly. After being silent for many years, Chinese anthropometry work has been vigorously carried out, and gradually formed many core teams on anthropometry research. In the past 40 years, Chinese anthropometry of the Chinese population has experienced the initial stage (1982-1987), the vigorous development stage (1988-1999), a bottleneck period (2000-2008), and the new leap development stage (2009-2022). Chinese physical anthropologists have conducted a large number of anthropometric work on the physical phenotypes of the ethnic groups in China, and have achieved fruitful results. These achievements have laid a solid base for constructing the Chinese population physique characteristics’ database. Among them, relatively fruitful research results have been achieved in the research directions of the head and facial characteristics, physique characteristics, physical type, somatotype, obesity, human body composition and other research directions. Since 2009, the implementation of two projects, namely the Han nationality physical anthropology research and the physical anthropological phenotypic characteristics survey of all ethnic groups in China, have greatly promoted the anthropometry work in China. In recent years, most researchers have gradually put their main works on the comprehensive studies of the entire language family and language branch, instead of taking a single ethnic group as the research object before. At present, there is still a lack of chinese anthropometric research on the Chinese nation as a whole, and there also a lack of comprehensive research on ethnic groups in a geographical scale (such as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Tibet-Yi Corridor). In the past, researchers paid more attention to the differences between ethnic groups of Chinese anthropometry, intead of sufficiently exploring the commonalities of physical characteristics among ethnic groups. The commonalities of physical characteristics among ethnic groups are important research aspects that need to be paid attention in the future. From now on, Chinese anthropometric workers must continue to carry out the anthropometric work of the Chinese people, to use the big data of physical characteristics to carry out more comprehensive research in various fields of anthropometry. At the same time, Chinese anthropometric workers need to initially establish the Chinese population physique characteristics database, so that the Chinese physique characteristics’ data could be used in all sectors such as the national economy and medical hygiene, and play a greater role in the future.

Key words: physique, anthropometry, China, nationality

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