Advertisement

What evolutionary purpose does beauty serve?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Way back when—before we could decode your genome, use fertility tests to determine when you're ovulating, and order MRIs to see what is going on with your liver—humans learned to use beauty as a serious assessment of a partner's potential health. Back then, beauty was the best way to determine that—and in a tenth of a second, mind you.

That's why beauty became very serious business—as in, survival-of-the-species serious. When we think about survival of the species (living long enough to pass your genes on to the next generation), it's natural to emphasize the survival part of the equation. But when it comes down to a choice between surviving and breeding, breeding often wins. (Think of male grizzlies fighting to the death for a mate.) Considering the stakes, you'd better be sure that the object of your affection (that man with those magnificent abs) is worthy of the effort to attract him.

Our brains became hardwired to search for certain traits in our mate, so we soon learned to consider those traits—a certain curvy body shape, full lips, thick hair, healthy teeth, on and on—as beautiful. And, with relatively few variations since time untold, so it remains.
You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

More About this Book

You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

Most people think that beauty revolves around such things as lipstick, sweet eyes, or skinny jeans -- all those things that we can see (and obsess over) in the mirror. But the fact is that beauty...

Continue Learning about Professional Beauty Treatments

How are hormones related to wrinkles and worries?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cortisol is a hormone that is involved in the effects of aging on the body, including thinning of th...
More Answers
Who is most likely to have a nonsurgical cosmetic procedure?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
Both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are not just for the very rich anymore. A 2009 sur...
More Answers
What Are the Advantages of Botox Treatment Over Facial Plastic Surgery?
What Are the Advantages of Botox Treatment Over Facial Plastic Surgery?
How Can I Look Younger Without a Facelift?
How Can I Look Younger Without a Facelift?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.