It may be time to reconsider the adage that bigger is better, for a new study has shown that traditional hunter-gatherers in Tanzania don't consider height to be an important factor when choosing a partner, as compared to western women, who favour tall men.
Previous studies have shown that when finding a mate, tall men have advantages, as they are more likely to marry, and produce more offspring on average. But most of those studies are based on western data.
In the new study, Rebecca Sear of the London School of Economics and Frank Marlowe of Florida State University in Tallahassee examined partner choice in the Hazda forager tribe in Tanzania.
They looked at the height and weight of married couples, as well the number of marriages per person, reports New Scientist.
The researchers found that out of 46 women questioned, only one said she preferred ‘big’ men, and neither sex was influenced by size in their choice of partner.
Sear suggests that height preferences are context-specific and while some mate preferences might be universal, it is "time to reassess our 'bigger is better' view of size".
The study has been published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.