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Thread: Evolutionary Biology: Primal Relationships?

  1. #11
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    May 2009


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    Mmm, that makes sense about social status and reproductive ability functioning differently as determinants of attractiveness between the sexes. For men, social status would be much more integral in determining potential parental investment than basic reproductive ability. Besides conception, a man's physical involvement in the growth of his offspring is non-existent; his role in successfully raising the child begins only once the female has successfully undergone the rigors of carrying a child to term and giving birth (and the subsequent months of breastfeeding). I see then how the appearance of being able to provide the elements of survival (food, shelter, clothing) take precedence for males, whereas the appearance of being able to undergo physical duress (pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding) take precedence for females. It would seem that while benchmarks for male attractiveness would be much more varied across different eras and cultures, the basic tenets of female beauty, like the waist-hip ratio, would remain universal.

    (My apologies if I am completely bastardizing the discussion and simply regurgitating previously stated points. I am admittedly unfamiliar with much of the subject matter. I wish I had more time to take more science courses, but it would deviate too far from my degree plan.)

  2. #12


    Shine you are not bastardizing anything. I think it's a good way to sum it up.

    On the other hand, it's tricky to talk about absolute tenets of female beauty regardless of culture. What I think does apply is that we might after all share some specific hardwired abilities to quickly discard mating with people with evident genetic flaws. And some of them are not so evident.

    Humans seem to prefer some body odors over others in their potential mates. And these odors are affected by many different metabolic variables that could indicate some not so obvious genetic or health issues.

    As I mentioned before, it would make sense to have evolved to be really good at telling normal genes from very bad ones easily by following phenotypical cues. Culture would very likely change the access we have to these cues, or how we interpret these cues.

    "Animal attraction" towards, let's say, a recent acquaintance (I think we have all experienced it in one way or another), would be intimately and strongly rooted, I believe, in genetic + potential for paternal or maternal investment.

    It's no coincidence women will be very attracted to handsome healthy successful men; and that men will prefer beautiful, young, healthy women, regardless of culture.

    The perception of handsome, successful and beautiful will vary form culture to culture, yes. But I think that in the vast majority of the cases, they will show clear links to genetic health, good potential for good parental investment, and good equipment to create babies. And that is, believe, a very useful pattern to make sense of present gender dynamics.

    “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
    "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

  3. #13
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    "There are high-status apes, for example, that get all the obvious mating advantages- but not all the males choose to exert a lot of effort fighting their way up the heirarchy, and instead choose to spend their time making friends with some of the females, who later give them mating opportunities without having to beat the crap out of some other guy first. He winds up with a steadier and more reliable supply of offspring than he would if he tried to fight his way through stronger and meaner males that ARE physically and temperamentally suited to be at the top of the ladder. His life is less stressful in the bargain, too."

    I wish that was true


    IMO women especially are good at reading the genes of potential partners. If I hear "I really like you, BUT . . ." one more time . . . but from what I've learned of my genetic background (I've collected the worst genes from both sides of the family) that makes extreme sense, I am NOT a good breeding partner but socially useful.

    ""Regarding the pursuit of genetic variation as a way to increase genetic fitness, it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation between mixed ethnicities and attractiveness."

    I would really, really like to see this as well. It's an inclination based purely anecdotally, but when I'm reading travel writing and journalism involving haring off to exotic places, it seems like the bulk of the praise for the attractiveness of the local inhabitants is for places at which lots of ethnicities have converged and the local gene pool is very mixed- like the Phillipines, the Caribbean islands, and Brazil."

    Oh yes, in gardening/farming world they call it "hybrid vigour".

    OTOH one supposed symptom of narcissists is a preference for partners of a different "race". Or is that just a symptom of psychiatrists?

    Fascinating stuff in these threads. Unfortunately I have hit the non-Primal Shiraz a bit hard with my sausages and broccoli so will have to lie down for a bit, my typos are breeding

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