Moscow University

M.V. Lomonosov’s thoughts «On the increase of Russian people … particularly concerning the newborn preservations» and monitoring of the newborns nowadays

Fedotova T.K. (1), Borovkova N.P. (2)

1) Lomonosov Moscow State University, Anuchin Research Institute and Museum of Anthropology, Mokhovaya st., 11, Moscow, 125009, Russia; 2) Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of biology, Department of anthropology, Leninskie Gory, 1, p.12, Moscow, 119991, Russia

Fedotova Tatiana K, Ph.D., D.Sc., ORCID ID: 0000-0001-7750-7924, e-mail:; Borovkova N.P., e-mail:


The article contains a review of literary data concerning the problem of variation of newborn size. The complex of factors of this variation from particular to general are discussed: evolutionary, geographical, sun activity dynamics, race/ethnic, genetic, mother’s constitution and pelvic dimensions, circumstances of intrauterine growth, secular trends. The role of stabilizing selection in regulation of general size and proportionality of a newborn is discussed as well as the limits of adaptive norm of weight/height parameters and trends of temporal dynamics of newborn size from Paleolithic to the present. The role of maternal factor, mother’s constitutional features, is examined as the dominating factor of genetic regulation of growth during pregnancy and early postnatal period. Special attention is paid to the dimensions of female pelvis and their low variability compared to other skeletal dimensions even under stress nutritional conditions. Data about positive correlation of newborn mass with the latitude are listed apart with the data about negative correlation with the altitude regarding the duration of adaptation of population to the Alpine hypoxia, and the seasonal fluctuations of body mass following the cyclic fluctuations of insolation and vitamin D levels; and the cyclic fluctuations of newborn dimensions connected with the geomagnetic activity. Race/ethnic variation of newborn dimensions is discussed along with its cultural and maternal components. The sum of prenatal growth factors is analyzed: maternal medical anamnesis, smoking during pregnancy. The «fetal programming» hypothesis and some of its mechanisms are discussed. A set of data concerning the variability of secular trends of newborn somatic development around the world is presented. Their intricate superposition eliminates the possibility of simple interpretation of the sources of secular trends. A number of facts describing different sensitivity of newborn boys and girls to the examined factors is mentioned in the text.


newborn, body length, body mass, stabilizing selection, geomagnetic activity, seasonal fluctuations, race/ethnic factors, heterogeneity temporal trends of body dimensions, maternal factors, environmental factors, sexual dimorphism

Цит.: Fedotova T.K., Borovkova N.P. M.V. Lomonosov’s thoughts «On the increase of Russian people … particularly concerning the newborn preservations» and monitoring of the newborns nowadays // Moscow University Anthropology Bulletin (Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. Seria XXIII. Antropologia), 2011; 3/2011; с. 120-135

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