lenty of guys will be hitting the weight room this summer before heading to the beach, but new research suggests that when it comes to winning over women, big muscles aren't always necessary. A new analysis by researchers at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville suggests that long ago, women started turning down strong, confident Alpha males in favor of Beta men who were more devoted. Here, a concise guide to the study:
Why do researchers think that geeks rule?
The team of evolutionary biologists wanted to determine exactly when it was that humankind began settling into monogamous relationships. Using a computer model, they found that when early humans began congregating in large social groups to up their chances of survival, physically dominant Alpha men had their pick from multiple women. For lower-ranking Beta men (think "scrawny geeks") to obtain mates, they needed to devise a different approach to circumvent the pecking order.
What did Betas do?
The researchers posit that out of necessity, a Beta man would devote himself to a single woman at a time, providing her with necessities like food and protection. Showering her with affection "led women to value a generous and devoted partner over a promiscuous stronger man," says Nick Collins at Britain's Telegraph. Monogamy persevered because it meant less infighting between competing males and better survival rates for offspring who had two parents watching over them.
Why does this matter?
Experts have long struggled to explain how the modern family arose out of tribal networks, study author Sergey Gavrilets tells the Daily Mail. As it turns out, the critical factor in this model was female choice, which sparked a "sexual revolution" and laid the groundwork for the modern two-parent family society is predicated on today.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why are so many elderly Asians killing themselves?
- Why ABC threw its Bachelor under the bus
- Repealing ObamaCare would now mean kicking 4.2 million people off their new insurance plans
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like
- Driverless cars may be an environmental disaster
- Why I'm sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO
- Why Ted Cruz is the real-life Frank Underwood
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Watch Zach Galifianakis get annoyed at President Obama on Between Two Ferns
- Here's proof that Justin Bieber is just as spoiled as you always thought
Subscribe to the Week