Many women thought that physical appearance plays the major role in attracting a potential mate. However, experts say it's not wholly true in the animal kingdom.
In a study published the journal Evolution, results showed that attractive females don't have an evolutionary edge over their plainer counterparts when it comes to romantic attention. However, good looks help them catch superior mates.
Though, most studies assume that females use their good looks to win the attention of high-quality mates, such as males that are better providers or more likely to be good parents, the evolutionary payoff for flashy females is still vague.
To know if previous assumptions are accurate, Courtney Fitzpatrick and co-author Maria Servedio used a mathematical model that predicts changes in the frequency of ornamented females in a population over time.
In their model, it showed that some of the males are better mates, while some are fussier. Physically attractive females in the model are sometimes able to lure superior males with whom they produce more surviving offspring than their less glamorous peers. Attractive females then pass their good looks on to their daughters, who also have a reproductive advantage, and so on from one generation to the next.
Shockingly, the effect was weaker than expected.
The results of their mathematical approach support other research suggesting that female beauty doesn’t evolve just to win mates.
Instead, flashy features may help their offsprings compete for other resources, such as social status or protection from predators. These findings back up the idea called the “social selection” hypothesis. It was first proposed three decades ago by theoretical biologist Mary Jane West-Eberhard of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
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