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How universal are human mate choices?: size doesn’t matter when Hadza foragers are choosing a mate

Sear, Rebecca and Marlowe, Frank W. (2009) How universal are human mate choices?: size doesn’t matter when Hadza foragers are choosing a mate. Biology Letters, 5 (5). pp. 606-609. ISSN 1744-9561

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Identification Number: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0342


It has been argued that size matters on the human mate market: both stated preferences and mate choices have been found to be non-random with respect to height and weight. But how universal are these patterns? Most of the literature on human mating patterns is based on post-industrial societies. Much less is known about mating behaviour in more traditional societies. Here we investigate mate choice by analysing whether there is any evidence for non-random mating with respect to size and strength in a forager community, the Hadza of Tanzania. We test whether couples assort for height, weight, BMI, percent fat and grip strength. We test whether there is a male-taller norm. Finally, we test for an association between anthropometric variables and number of marriages. Our results show no evidence for assortative mating for height, weight, BMI or percent fat; no evidence for a male-taller norm; and no evidence that number of marriages is associated with our size variables. Hadza couples may assort positively for grip strength, but grip strength does not affect the number of marriages. Overall we conclude that, in contrast to post-industrial societies, mating appears to be random with respect to size in the Hadza.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Royal Society Publishing Ltd
Divisions: Social Policy
LSE Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Q Science > QL Zoology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2009 10:29
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2024 04:00

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