Author’s Note: Please take the below as tongue-in-cheek.
I’ve often seen it suggested that human breasts evolved to be perpetually swollen as a result of our bipedalism. As quadrupeds, we evolved to find buttocks attractive. Once we started walking on two legs all the time, buttocks were no longer at eye level, and as we all know, no man would ever glance downwards at an attractive pair of buttocks, and so breasts that resembled buttocks were selected for, generation by generation, as males preferred to mate with those females who most greatly appeared to have buttocks on their chests, enhanced by our switch from doggy-style to missionary, which rendered the breasts more visually dominant than the buttocks. (Even as far back as the ancient Romans, doggy-style had an association with animals, being termed more ferarum, or, “in the manner of the beasts.”)
Let’s for a moment compare the faces of humans to our closest cousins, the chimpanzees.
Aside from the hair, the largest difference to me is our noses. The human nose is much larger, more prominent. It juts outward from the face in a way completely unlike any of our close relatives, except the proboscis monkey. Its cartilage holds it erect throughout the years, even as all other body parts surrender to gravity. You may have already guessed my line of thinking from my diction, but just in case, here it is: I propose that the nose is a substitute penis.
When early man began walking upright, the penis was no longer easily seen by the female, whose eye-level, being somewhat shorter than the male, was now directly aimed at the male nose. And so, generation by generation, women subconsciously selected for larger noses through their attraction to noses that looked most like penises.
It explains so much at a stroke! Why men tend to have bigger noses, and why a larger nose is associated with romance, as, for example, in the case of Cyrano de Bergerac. Why are our noses so much larger than required to smell? Why do noses differ so greatly in size amongst different human populations? We see little such variation in those body parts with functional purposes, such as eyes, hands, and hearts, but there is much more in purely cosmetic features, as in female breasts, penises, and noses.
Perhaps it is not ancient man we should look to, but ancient woman, if we wish to understand why humans look the way they do.