Professor David Carrier concludes tall men attract women because they remind them of our ape-like ancestors.
Professor David Carrier concludes tall men attract women because they remind them of our ape-like ancestors. Digital Vision

Tall order for women in love

SOME women only date men who are taller than them. Others are only attracted to men over 1.8m tall.

Perhaps it’s down to the theory that taller men have bigger feet – and you know what they say about big feet.

Or perhaps it’s down to a subconscious biological desire to mate with a partner who has good genes.

All are viable theories.

But, according to a new study, US researchers reckon they have the true answer.

Professor David Carrier, of the University of Utah, concluded tall men attract the ladies because they remind them of our violent ape-like ancestors.

His study showed men hit harder when they stand on two legs than when they kneel down, and when directing punches downwards. He also surmised this might explain why early humans began walking upright, as well as why women prefer tall men

“The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that our ancestors adopted bipedal posture so that males would be better at beating and killing each other when competing for females,” Prof Carrier said.

“Standing up on their hind legs allowed our ancestors to fight with the strength of their forelimbs, making punching much more dangerous.

“It also provides a functional explanation for why women find tall men attractive.

“Early in human evolution, an enhanced capacity to strike downward on an opponent may have given tall males a greater capacity to compete for mates and to defend their resources and offspring.

“If this were true, females who chose to mate with tall males would have had greater fitness for survival.”

The findings of the study are reported in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE.

Prof Carrier’s team measured the force of punches delivered by male boxers and martial arts experts as they hit in four different directions: forwards, sideways, down and up.

For all punching angles, the blows were much harder when delivered standing up rather than kneeling down.

The taller men were able to hit harder, which Prof Carrier surmised meant women were attracted to tall men as they were more physically powerful and better able to protect them.

Biomechanist Dr Mark Sayers, of the University of the Sunshine Coast, agreed with Prof Carrier’s findings that the taller the man, the greater strength his punch would have. He wasn’t surprised that the downward punches had the greatest force.

“If you punch down on something, gravity will assist your body weight and the punch will be harder,” he said.

He added that kicking would have a similar result: downward kicks had greater power than their upward counterparts.

He said tall men would be able to punch harder as they had longer levers, which meant the end segment would be travelling at a greater speed when it connected with its target.

“And if you are tall, then your fist is likely to be bigger. The impact force is directly relational to the mass of the object,” Dr Sayers said.

“I’m relatively short and if I was to make a 185cm clone of myself and both punch at the same velocity, the taller me would have the greater impact force. The longer limbs are the greater endpoint velocity.”

He wasn’t entirely convinced women were attracted to tall men because they could punch harder but did not discount the theory.

“The bottom line is, we are just animals,” he said.

“The alpha male and alpha female in the animal kingdom were chosen for their physical prowess.

“Tall men are more likely to be the alpha male and some

where deep down in the make of the psyche is that thought that he will be the dominant mate.”

Buderim resident Katie Miller said all of her past boyfriends had towered over her and stood well above 1.8m.

She said that being relatively tall herself, she always looked for men who would be as tall or taller than herself so she did not feel self-conscious about her height, nor feel guilty wearing heels.

“I guess in the back of my mind I’ve always been attracted to strong, powerful guys and, even if they are super softies, tall guys have the appearance of being strong and able to take care of you,” she said.

“And no matter what girls say, deep down they do want a guy that will take care of them and is able to protect them.

“It may not be very feminist to say that, but it’s true.”

She said she would not discount a guy because of his height, but would struggle not to be able to wear heels when out with him.

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