Why Do Women Have Breasts?

Why do women have breasts?Non-lactating breasts are unique to humans.  Evolution-X says they were able to evolve because women are gatherers and not hunters, but that doesn’t explain why they did evolve.

… Our ancestors were hunters, who survived principally from eating other animals. With other hunter species, like dogs, cats, and stoats, the adult females hunt, unless perhaps they are heavily pregnant or tending young offspring. Hunting is difficult enough without udders, and so the hampering effect of udders is minimised – they only grow them when lactating. Herbivorous herd beasts like cows, sheep, and deer must be able to escape predators by running faster than their neighbours in the herd, and so one with useless udders is just asking to be eaten. Most mammals rely on speed to escape being eaten, so even solitary herbivores would be badly advised to grow udders until the proper time.

Humans, however, are importantly different, in that they do not rely mainly on speed to escape predation. Few animals will attack a group of humans, and humans will use group tactics, fire, weapons, missiles, and the like to defend themselves. Any animal powerful enough to bring down an animal as big as a grown woman, can out-run her so easily that speed of foot is not the issue. Human females gather food in groups, and in parts of the world where this is dangerous, tribes post armed teenage boys, and the occasional older man, to guard them. Much of their time they spend in camps, in the presence of fire, and very few animals will venture there. Human females, therefore, paid a much smaller price for developing udders than other animals, during their evolution. Very few women in the Pleistocene of child-bearing age would have been lost to predators. They were free to be hampered by non-lactating breasts.

In other words, division of labour made nulliparous breasts possible. Our ancestral fathers behaved like carnivores, and needed to be able to run and jump freely to hunt, and our ancestral mothers behaved more like herbivores, harvesting in groups. A nullipara is a female who has not yet borne children. It is an interesting quirk of our culture that we all know the word virgin, but few know nullipara

The above explains how it could have been possible for non-lactating breasts to evolve, but it still falls a long way short of saying why they actually did evolve. Read more

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