Big butts, smart babies?

Free “are you a scientist” test. (Screenshot Daggerfall – evidently the people of the Alik’r Desert don’t eat much seafood either!)

Scientists are curious people. Evidently they cannot even look at a big butt without thinking. (I know a lot of guys who can look at butts without thinking, but then they never became scientists either.) What they have been thinking is: Why does our species, of all possible species, have this feature?

In most species, sexual selection is a one-way street. Peacocks have those crazy big, colorful tails; the hens are drab and naturally camouflaged for their environment. Male elks have huge antlers, females not. Thus, it seems unlikely that women have big butts because these are sexy. Rather, they are sexy because they are female. Men have adapted to the butts, hips and thighs rather than the other way around. Then why did this feature arise in the first place?

A discovery from back in 2007 may throw some light on this. It seems that the fatty tissues of the lower body contain more of the essential fatty acids, such as omega-3, used to build the baby’s brain. While the fat around the waist and under the skin all around the body contains more omega-6 and others that are mostly used for fuel. When a woman loses weight, she usually lets go of the waist fat first, although there are large genetic differences between ethnic groups and even family lines. Generally speaking, as mother, as daughter. But overall, lower-body fat is quite persistent. During the later parts of pregnancy and during lactation (suckling), the omega-3 fat is dissolved and transferred to the baby. (Of course, in modern societies it is possible to eat enough fat that you can have twins and not lose an ounce. But in the wild, this is harder to achieve.)

I’ll briefly point out that in Japan, where people all over the country eat a diet rich in omega-3 and have done so for a very long time, the vast majority of women have slender hips, almost childlike by western standards. They still have smart babies. Meanwhile the natives of the Kalahari desert, where seafood is about as common as hen’s teeth, are famous for their enormous behinds. Long-standing agricultural societies tend to fall in between these extremes.

Somehow this vaguely interesting discovery caused a brouhaha again this year, after Psychology Today printed an inaccurate and very popularized article about it. Their focus was that men are hardwired to prefer women with a particular waist-to-hip ratio. Evidently this came across as “men know women’s bodies better than women do”, which caused the habitual rage in the hardcore feminist crowd.

And of course socialists generally dislike evolutionary psychology, since it implies that humans are not blank slates on which we can write the gospel of Marx and Lenin and usher in Utopia in our lifetime. Meanwhile, conservatives dislike evolutionary psychology since it implies that humans are some kind of animals and not created in God’s image. Me, I dislike evolutionary psychology because it is usually a thinly veiled attempt to prove that people everywhere and at all times were meant to do whatever is popular in America this decade. But this seems to be an exception, unless Americans have suddenly taken a liking to large hips without telling their supermodels.

Whatever the case may be, there is no reason to despair if you’re pregnant and worried that your thighs are not fat enough. Norway exports affordable cod liver oil to all corners of the world. Order your bottle today! Think of the children! Hubby is encouraged to buy some too, lest the baby absconds with what’s left of wife’s butts. Cod liver oil – rich in essential fatty acids – good for the whole family! ^_^

(Sources? Google “women’s hips contain omega 3”. ^_^)

One thought on “Big butts, smart babies?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *