Winning a mate, a matter of physical prowess

Updated: May 16, 2010, 15:56 PM IST

Men developed thicker foreheads and jaws due to fighting over women in the past, according to anthropologists.

A new study has claimed that winning a mate used to depend only on physical prowess and men with the strongest jawline and thickest skulls were better able to survive onslaughts from love rivals.

And, that meant that over time all men developed thicker bones in the jaws, around the eyes and on the forehead than women, the study says.

The also developed a greater proportion of muscle to fat than women and became taller than women, it claims.

Dr David Puts, whose findings are published in the Evolution and Human Behaviour journal, said unlike many animal species men and women are similarly sized although men develop more muscle and women more fat.

"On average men are not all that much bigger than women, only about 15 per cent larger. But the average guy is stronger than 99.9 per cent of women," The Daily Telegraph quoted Dr Puts of Pennsylvania State University as saying.

Men are also far more aggressive than women, with about 30 per cent in small scale foraging communities dying violently. While a deep voice has been considered an appealing trait to women, it actually signals dominance, he says.

"A deep voice makes men look dominant and older. A low voice`s effect on dominance is many times greater than its effect on sexual attraction," he said.