In our society we not only see beauty or attractiveness in the bodies of other people, but we mentally grade it and in some cases measure it in the form of beauty competitions for females and body development competitions for men amongst other competitions centred around appearance of our bodies. An outstanding competition for females is the “Miss World” competition for beautiful women from around the world. The winner of a Miss World competition must be considered near the pinnacle of female beauty.
If we could determine the genealogical lineage of Miss World, we would see that lineage going back generation by generation without a break back to a single living cell, but for our purposes here, consider the line back near to the start of our species, say some 200,000 years ago. The line would be through a female at every generation, some tens of thousands of generations. Let’s choose a random generation at about the 200,000 year mark and give the female mother of that generation the title MotherOne. We can call her partner in producing a daughter for the next generation, FatherOne.
My limited research does not allow me to conjecture up images of MotherOne and FatherOne of that generation, but I would guess that in appearance they would be closer to other Great Apes than to Miss World. So what happens during the succeeding generations that changes the images of the women to finally arrive at Miss World.
The daughter of MotherOne and FatherOne inherits physical characteristics from both parents through Chromosomes X and Y and introducing FatherOne into the line could make significant changes to the child’s appearance, but they need not improve her appearance or beauty level. But there is the possibility of another factor being introduced into the biology of the child, and that is the introduction of a hereditary mutation. The probabilities of a mutation effecting an improvement in the appearance of the child may be very low, but as it can occur at every generation, in tens of thousand of generations the probabilities improve.
As the generations from MotherOne unfold, changes in the appearance of the progeny are affected by the factors mentioned above, but is there another factor that may have a greater effect on the appearance of Miss World’s female ancestors? At each generation Motherx will have a Fatherx from the local male population. In many of those generations Motherx will have a choice for Fatherx and may well choose according to the “beauty” level of available and suitable adult males in the local population. This introduces a bias in favour of increased beauty in many succeeding generations, culminating in Miss World.
If we accept that in Miss World’s earlier generations humans recognised beauty levels in each other, then the above hypothesis may be reasonable, with mate selection being a strong driving force. I wonder if recent scientific research throws any light on the hypothesis.