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Sexual selection human height


Conceived and designed the experiments: Pair formation, acquiring a mate to form a reproductive unit, is a complex process.

Mating preferences are a step in this process. However, due to constraining factors such as availability of mates, rival competition, and mutual mate choice, preferred characteristics may not be realised in the actual partner. People value height in their partner and we investigated to what extent preferences for height are realised in actual couples.

We used data from the Millennium Cohort Study UK and compared the distribution of height difference in actual couples to simulations of random mating to test how established mate preferences map on to actual mating patterns. In line with mate preferences, we found evidence for: Couples where the male partner was shorter, or over 25 cm taller than the female partner, occurred at Sexual selection human height frequency in actual couples than expected by chance, but the magnitude of these effects was modest.

We also investigated another preference rule, namely that short women and tall men prefer large height differences with their partner, whereas tall women and short men prefer small height differences. These patterns were also observed Sexual selection human height our population, although the strengths of these associations were weaker than previously reported strength of preferences.

We conclude that while preferences for partner height generally translate into actual pairing, they do so only modestly. Mating preferences, the propensity to mate with certain phenotypes [1]are an important part of pair formation. However, due to constraints in the mating process the preferred partner characteristics may differ from actual partner characteristics when a pair is formed.

Human height is a partner...

For instance, limited availability of mates and hence severe competition with rivals may prevent one from ending up with the desired partner [2][3].

In addition to such constraints, the risk of being deserted for a better option after pair formation may make it strategically optimal to forego mating options with members of the opposite sex that are preferred by many, to ensure a long-term pair bond [4].

This consideration arises because even "Sexual selection human height" a pair is formed, the availability of attractive alternatives is a determinant of Sexual selection human height stability of that pair [5][6]. In addition, many characteristics are taken into account when choosing a mate [7]which likely results in choosing a mate with some preferred, but other less-preferred characteristics, even when choice is without constraints. A mismatch between actual and preferred mate characteristics is even more pronounced when a desired characteristic is traded off against another Sexual selection human height, implying that selecting on one desired characteristic reduces the likelihood of obtaining a different preferred characteristic as suggested for example for parental investment and genetic quality; [8][9].

An additional obstacle for obtaining a preferred partner arises when there is mutual mate choice, in which case the preferences and choice of the opposite sex further complicate the mating process [10]. All of the above reasons may lead to pair formation where both individuals have a less than ideally preferred partner. It seems Sexual selection human height that the translation of preferences into actual partner characteristics will be constrained, causing a mismatch between preferences and actual mating patterns, yet this mismatch has been little studied.

Here we test whether preference rules with respect to human height are translated in actual pairings. Human height is a partner characteristic that is valued by both men and women and preferences for partner height have been well studied reviewed in [11].

These preferences can be described as the following set of rules: Although the above preferences have consistently been shown in Western populations using a variety of methodologies, partner height preferences and choice may be different in non-Western populations [12] — [15] ; see [16] for potential causes for these differences. In this paper, we focus exclusively on Western mating preferences for height, and below we describe these in more detail before going on to test whether these preference rules are translated in actual pairings.

In both men and women, questionnaire based data suggest that with increasing height the preferred partner height also increases [11]indicating preferences for assortative mating. Similar patterns have been found in responses to online advertisements [17] and in speed dating events [18].

Human height is a highly...

Assortative preferences for height seem to be realised in actual couples [19] — [23]. Spuhlerfor instance, reviewed assortative mating with respect to physical height in 28 populations and found an average between partner height correlation of. In general, women prefer men taller than themselves and, conversely, men prefer women shorter than themselves [11][24] — [26].

Evolutionary Battle of the Sexes...

Again, preferences are reflected in pairings as the male-taller norm is also found in actual couples. Because women are on average shorter than men, chance predicts that the occurrence of couples in which the female is taller is 2 out of14 times higher than the observed 1 out of see [12] for a recent study replicating this finding in a Western population.

Not only do men and women prefer the male to be taller than the woman in a romantic couple, they also prefer the male not to be too tall relative to the woman: The extent Sexual selection human height which the male-not-too-tall norm is expressed in actual couples is currently unknown, and in the present study we address this issue.

However, it is not known whether these preferences for partner height differences are realised in actual couples, and we therefore also address this issue.

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