Male physical competition, not attraction, was central in winning mates among human ancestors, according to a Penn State anthropologist.
"There is sexual competition in many species, including humans," said David A. Puts, assistant professor of biological anthropology.
Many researchers have considered mate choice the main operator in human sexual selection. They thought that people's mating success was mainly determined by attractiveness; but for men, it appears that physical competition among males was more important. Puts sees humans as similar to many of the apes in using male competition to determine access to mates, the winning male choosing the women of his dreams. He reports his findings in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behavior.
"On average men are not all that much bigger than women, only about 15 percent larger," said Puts. "But, the average guy is stronger than 99.9 percent of women."
The problem is that men and women do not appear sexually dimorphic different sexes having radically different sizes and weights. But Puts notes that women tend to store more body fat, while men have 60 percent more muscle mass than women.
Other traits indicate physical prowess was the major force in human mate competition through history. Men are far more aggressive than women, and approximately 30 percent of men in small-scale foraging communities die violently. Puts suggests that while a deep voice has been considered an appealing trait to women, it actually signals dominance.
"A deep voice makes men look dominant and older," said Puts. "A low voice's effect on dominance is many times greater than its effect on sexual attraction."
The main sticking point with human male competition compared to other species is that male humans do not possess inherent weapons.
"Other animals have antlers or long canines and claws," said Puts. "Why don't we have them?"
According to Puts, men do have weapons. They make them. Bows a
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