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Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Jun 22; 271(1545): 1213–1217.
PMCID: PMC1691716

Large breasts and narrow waists indicate high reproductive potential in women.


Physical characteristics, such as breast size and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), function as important features used by human males to assess female attractiveness. Males supposedly pay attention to these features because they serve as cues to fecundity and health. Here, we document that women with higher breast-to-underbreast ratio (large breasts) and women with relatively low WHR (narrow waists) have higher fecundity as assessed by precise measurements of daily levels of 17-beta-oestradiol (E2) and progesterone. Furthermore, women who are characterized by both narrow waists and large breasts have 26% higher mean E2 and 37% higher mean mid-cycle E2 levels than women from three groups with other combinations of body-shape variables, i.e. low WHR with small breasts and high WHR with either large or small breasts. Such gains in hormone levels among the preferred mates may lead to a substantial rise in the probability of conception, thus providing a significant fitness benefit.

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Selected References

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