The nubility hypothesis

  title={The nubility hypothesis},
  author={Frank W. Marlowe},
  journal={Human Nature},
  • F. Marlowe
  • Published 1 September 1998
  • Biology, Psychology
  • Human Nature
A new hypothesis is proposed to explain the perennially enlarged breasts of human females. The nubility hypothesis proposes that hominid females evolved protruding breasts because the size and shape of breasts function as an honest signal of residual reproductive value. Hominid females with greater residual reproductive value were preferred by males once reliable cues to ovulation were lost and long-term bonding evolved. This adaptation was favored because female-female competition for… 

The evolution of perennially enlarged breasts in women: a critical review and a novel hypothesis

It is proposed that breasts appeared as early as Homo ergaster, originally as a by‐product of other coincident evolutionary processes of adaptive significance, including an increase in subcutaneous fat tissue in response to the demands of thermoregulatory and energy storage, and of the ontogenetic development of the evolving brain.

Sexual Selection and Human Breast Morphology

Human females, uniquely among primates, develop prominent breasts during puberty, well before reproduction occurs. Adipose tissue in breasts forms part of the "gynoid"  fat distribution, involving

The Functional Design and Phylogeny of Women’s Sexuality

Research findings indicate that women’s estrogen-based sexual ornaments honestly signal residual reproductive value, which supports the hypothesis that concealed estrus is adaptation that functions in extra-pair-bond copulation to cuckold the main partner in service of better genes for offspring, while maintaining the main partners’ material benefits.

Does Ecological Harshness Influence Men’s Perceptions of Women’s Breast Size, Ptosis, and Intermammary Distance?

Breasts are sexually dimorphic physical characteristics, and they are enlarged post-puberty suggesting that they have been driven by sexual selection to signal fertility and residual reproductive

Men’s preferences for women’s breast size and shape in four cultures

Does Nubility Indicate More Than High Reproductive Value? Nubile Primiparas’ Pregnancy Outcomes in Evolutionary Perspective

  • W. D. LassekS. Gaulin
  • Medicine, Psychology
    Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior
  • 2021
The idea that human males are most strongly attracted to traits that peak in women in the nubile age group raises the question of how well women in that age group contend with the potential hazards

Stereotypical and Actual Associations of Breast Size with Mating-Relevant Traits

Women and men perceived breasts in a similar way to each other: the bigger the breasts the higher the reproductive efficiency, lactational efficiency, sexual desire, and promiscuity attributed to the woman, but large breasts were not regarded more attractive than average ones, though small breasts were the least attractive.



Evolutionary Perspectives on Permanent Breast Enlargement in Human Females

authors have attempted to account for the evolution of this anomaly, these explanations are invariably based on the problematic concept of breasts as sexual signals. Morris's early account, for

The reproductive advantages of fat in women

Age preferences in mates reflect sex differences in human reproductive strategies

Abstract The finding that women are attracted to men older than themselves whereas men are attracted to relatively younger women has been explained by social psychologists in terms of economic

Population, Food Intake, and Fertility

Undernutrition not the widespread use of traditional methods of contraception may also be the explanation of the completed family size of 6-7 children found in many developing countries today.

Definition of the problem - The evolution of human reproduction

  • R. Short
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences
  • 1976
Since natural selection has always operated in the past to maximize reproductive potential, women are physiologically ill-adapted to spend the greater part of their reproductive lives in the non-pregnant state.

Fat and fertility: demographic implications of differential fat storage.

It is indicated that both over- and undernutrition may interfere with reproductive function, but probably do so only when extreme and it is suggested that fat is better seen as an indicator of systemic function than as a single independent factor.