Why women prefer tall men
Tall men attract the ladies because they remind them of our violent ape-like ancestors, according to a new theory.
A study shows men hit harder when they stand on two legs than when they kneel down, and when directing punches downwards.
This might explain why early humans began walking upright, and also why women prefer tall men, say US researchers.
Professor David Carrier, from the University of Utah, said: "The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that our ancestors adopted bipedal posture so that males would be better at beating and killing each other when competing for females.
"Standing up on their hind legs allowed our ancestors to fight with the strength of their forelimbs, making punching much more dangerous.
"It also provides a functional explanation for why women find tall men attractive.
"Early in human evolution, an enhanced capacity to strike downward on an opponent may have given tall males a greater capacity to compete for mates and to defend their resources and offspring. If this were true, females who chose to mate with tall males would have had greater fitness for survival."
The switch to walking on two legs was a defining point in human evolution, but the reason it happened is still unclear.
Charles Darwin, the "father" of evolution, thought human ancestors stood up so they could handle tools and weapons.
Later a host of other reasons for bipedalism were suggested, including carrying food, dissipating heat, efficient running, and reaching high branches.
Today, one of the most popular theories to explain the upright human posture is locomotor advantage. Standing on two legs is said to increase the efficiency of walking and running
But Prof Carrier said this was not born out by research showing that bipedal walking is "energetically more expensive".
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