Nature’s Symmetry In Our Bodies

I have been arguing that people come evolutionarily speaking from three “tribes”: hunter-gatherers, farmers and pastoralists. These tribes were variously identified in Ancient lore, e.g. vata, pitta and kapha in Ayurveda. Many classifications used the elements (Myers-Briggs types in parentheses):

We are to some extent all mixed, but also kept apart by assortative mating. Initially, my interest was in personality differences. However, my research progressively started to uncover physiological traits (sleep, digestion) as well as physical traits. So, I started researching which physical traits may give away our main temperament type.

Body shapes are closely correlated with body types. However, most people mix up ectomorphs with skinny or low BMI and endomorphs with the opposite attributes. All three body types come in skinny, muscular and overweight. However, ectomorphs are typically the ones who find it hardest to gain weight (when they do, they tend to balloon, though) and endomorphs put on weight most easily, with mesomorphs often being the most athletic types.

Here are the body shapes that typically go with each evolutionary type. You will find that they typically will also have the facial and hand features discussed above. Evolution shows a high degree of symmetry when it comes to our bodies. Gatherer heart-shaped faces go together with a pear-shaped figure (inverted heart shape) and “water” hands with long fingers (obviously ideal for gathering). Farmer types have rectangular body types that go together with square hands and square or rounded (high estrogen version) head shape.

Here are the three types, each in a more testosterone dominated (angular) as well a more estrogen (curved) dominated form.

Forager types have triangular basic types, with wide thighs and narrower shoulders. The high estrogen version is pear-shaped. This shape is typically associated with high BMI where it is most obvious, but on closer inspection, you will find it with skinny people like Keira Knightly too.

Keira Knightly. Ectomorph, pear-shaped (inverted heart-shaped) body shape, 0.75 waist to hip ratio, heart-shaped face, water hands, a bit bony and angular: ENFP with a lot of T. This body type may easily be mistaken for a rectangular type, however the curvature and the pronounced waist makes it clear that the basic body shape is triangular.

Pastoralist types are typically mesomorphs. This is the most athletic type and the majority of professional sportspeople. Pretty much all famous soccer players like Beckham, Messi, Maradona and Pelé belong to this group (see here for more). The basic body shape for this type is an inverted triangle. This body type is naturally considered the sexiest. For men it’s easiest to achieve that desired V-shaped upper body and for women that desired hour-glass shape.

Pastoralist type women are the ones who win most Miss World trophies and are frequently found among actresses, singers, models and artists. They have wide hips, wide shoulders and a very pronounced waist. They most naturally achieve a low waist to hip ratio. Psychologists find that a ratio of .7 is considered sexiest by most men.

Scarlett Johansson: hourglass shape (0.65 waist to hip ratio), diamond head shape, high cheekbones, high nose bridge, straight eyebrows. ISTP

Farmer types are the easiest to identify. Their body parts are the most symmetric: rectangular/round body shape, square/round face and square hand shape.

Selena Gomez is a great example for a farmer type that may be mistaken for an ectomorph. However, her body shape is rectangular. This shape makes it hard for her to achieve a very low waist to hip ratio. When overweight farmer types quickly achieve a ratio of >1. Pastoralist types in contrast tend to put on weight in their backsides so they keep a lower ratio (Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian are famous examples). That is why pastoralist types tend to be the curviest women.

Selena Gomez. Rectangular body shape, round face, round hairline, round eyebrows. ISFJ (kind, helpful, hard-working, reliable, soft and often humble — it’s very hard not to like them).

When it comes to height, pastoralist types are generally quite tall and farmer types are shorter. WIth forager types, it can vary much more. Hunter types are typically taller than average and they are often easily recognizable in the lanky and boney guy. Gatherer (NF) types are typically shorter than average and at least until puberty also the shortest kids in their year at school. When it comes to sexual maturation, pastoralists are the first to start puberty, followed by farmer types. Forager types are typically the late bloomers.

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Originally published at on May 24, 2021.