Secrets of Sexual Selection

Mate choice and sexual selection are well-researched areas in evolutionary psychology. The standard theory is that we look for signs of health and fertility (e.g. large lips and breasts) in our mates. These principles hold true for many animals. But what if there was more to it in humans? Our faces yield an amazing variety not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom and we often decide within seconds whether a person may be a potential mating partner or not. Yes, we are sometimes that superficial. But what if these “rash decisions” are actually evolutionarily evolved mechanisms that helped our ancestors find the right kind of partner?

Women usually like to check out guys’ faces, hands and backsides. Of course, guys love a beautiful behind too. 59 percent of Argentinian men dig butts even more than boobs, a University of Buenos Aires study found . Here again, the standard answer evolutionary psychologists like David Buss give is that our backsides give away clues about a woman’s fertility and the famous waist to hip ratio gets an honorable mention. While this is probably correct, there may be much more to a beautiful behind. To begin with, typically four different booty shapes are recognized: square, round (cherry), heart (pear) and inverted triangle. The type of our bottom is largely correlated with our overall body type, which in turn I have hypothesised are correlated with our ancestral modes of subsistence: hunter-gathering, farming and herding.

Singer Selena Gomez has a square backside (also H-shaped), which is indicative of a rectangular (banana) body type — an evolutionary farmer type (SJ in Myers-Briggs). Her waist is not very pronounced because it’s hard to achieve a low waist-hip ratio with this body type. Farmer types tend to store their fat more in their waistlines.

Actress Scarlett Johansson has a round booty (O-type) and an hourglass figure, both of which are indicative of a pastoralist type (SP in MBTI). This type has a naturally pronounced waist and low waist-hip ratio (.65 for Scarlet Johansson vs .8 for Selena Gomez). This type tends to store a lot of fat reserves in the backside and oversized backsides are therefore a good indication of this type. Famous examples are Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez.

Their body type is often referred to as pear-shaped, but it is merely a more extreme form of the round type and often confused with the inverted-heart shaped or A-type.

The inverted heart-shaped booty can easily be mixed up with the hourglass booty, but instead of rounding off the behind, it widens below the hip bones. This kind of behind is typical for forager type women (NF). So, by checking out people’s behinds we actually may be attracted to partners similar to us. Selina Gomez is a more traditional type with values like being family-oriented and patriotic. Scarlett Johansson has a more fiery temperament and is less likely to settle down easily.

Our aesthetic preferences when it comes to behinds may connect us more easily with people who are compatible with us, have similar values, similar interests and similar tastes in music. In brief, people who are more likely on the same wavelength as us. This phenomenon is called homophily.

For more information check out my latest book Evolutionary Symmetry — Face and Body Typing : What our bodies reveal about our temperaments and evolutionary past

Originally published at on May 24, 2021.