By David P Barash, Judith Eve Lipton

So how did ladies get their curves? Why have they got breasts, whereas different mammals in simple terms improve breast tissue whereas lactating, and why do ladies menstruate, while almost no different beings accomplish that? What are the explanations for girl orgasm? Why are human women saved at nighttime approximately their very own time of ovulation and greatest fertility, and why are they the single animals to adventure menopause?

David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, coauthors of acclaimed books on human sexuality and gender, talk about the theories scientists have complex to give an explanation for those evolutionary enigmas (sometimes known as "Just-So tales" by means of their detractors) and current hypotheses in their personal. a few medical theories are in response to valid empirical information, whereas others are natural hypothesis. Barash and Lipton distinguish among what's good and what continues to be doubtful, skillfully incorporating their professional wisdom of biology, psychology, animal habit, anthropology, and human sexuality into their wonderful evaluations. Inviting readers to ascertain the facts and draw their very own conclusions, Barash and Lipton inform an evolutionary suspense tale that captures the thrill and thrill of precise medical detection.

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Extra resources for How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories: Evolutionary Enigmas

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And yet does this point argue against the cleansing hypothesis or emphasize the role of competing pressures? Strassmann agreed with Profet that the copiousness of menstruation should increase with the promiscuity of the breeding system. After conducting a detailed survey of twenty-five different primate genera, though, she found no correlation between degree of promiscuity and intensity of menstruation. indd 29 2/24/09 7:46:29 PM w h y m e n s t r uat e ? evolutionary hypotheses explaining women’s menstruation Vestigial: an artifact of modernity Signaling 1: absence of pregnancy Signaling 2: to other women Signaling 3: to relatives Signaling 4: to men (maturation) Signaling 5: to men (Lysistrata) Cleansing: combating pathogens Metabolic efficiency: lowering costs One-way street: terminal differentiation Competence test: evaluating the embryo Synchrony 1: predator overloading Synchrony 2: encouraging monogamy Synchrony 3: female-female competition Synchrony 4: social bonding Synchrony 5: social facilitation Synchrony 6: synchrony doesn’t exist baboons, and chimpanzees fit the prediction, but many other primates— especially the prosimians (such as lemurs) and New World monkeys—do not.

The cleansing hypothesis seems to imply that human beings are more heavily encumbered with sexually transmitted pathogens than are other species or perhaps more vulnerable to them. Or Homo sapiens are possibly more inclined than most to engage in sex with multiple partners. ” The more sexual partners you encounter, the greater the probability of acquiring pathogens—hence, the greater the possible need for periodically flushing them away. It wouldn’t be strictly necessary for all women to have multiple partners, simply for them to copulate with some men who did so.

But then again, tampons are a very recent development, not part of our evolutionary past, and they change the intravaginal microbial ecology, typically in troublesome ways. In pre–feminine hygiene societies, menstrual blood and its nutritive load of iron would pass safely out of the body rather than accumulate on tampons. Strassmann has studied the Dogon of Mali, among whom sexual abstinence is practiced for only a month or two after childbirth, although lactational amenorrhea (ovulation inhibited by nursing) lasts an average of twenty months.

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