Analysis

Why women prefer geeky guys

Early in human evolutionary history, women started opting for the loyal and loving Beta male over his big-bicepped Alpha brethren

In the 1980s movie "Revenge of the Nerds," the nerds got the girls, and, it turns out, the same thing happens in real life.

Plenty 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. 

Sources: Daily Mail, Gizmodo, Telegraph

Recommended

The Week contest: Floating ice
Feet.
Feature

The Week contest: Floating ice

6 outstanding homes built in the 1940s
House
Feature

6 outstanding homes built in the 1940s

The Check-In: 2022's best and worst airports, and more
Airplanes.
Feature

The Check-In: 2022's best and worst airports, and more

The Week contest: Walker robber
A man with a walker.
Feature

The Week contest: Walker robber

Most Popular

The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shows off her infamous "Tax the Rich" dress at the 2021 Met Gala.
dress drama

The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe

The 1st 3 weeks of Trump's presidential campaign have been brutal
Donald Trump
Maybe it's a sign?

The 1st 3 weeks of Trump's presidential campaign have been brutal

Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington
Incoming Gen Z congressman Maxwell Frost
Frostbitten

Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington