How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories

Evolutionary Enigmas

David P. Barash, Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton, M.D.

Columbia University Press

How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories

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Pub Date: March 2011

ISBN: 9780231146654

224 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.95

Pub Date: April 2009

ISBN: 9780231146647

224 Pages

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Pub Date: April 2009

ISBN: 9780231518390

224 Pages

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How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories

Evolutionary Enigmas

David P. Barash, Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton, M.D.

Columbia University Press

So how did women get their curves? Why do they have breasts, while other mammals only develop breast tissue while lactating, and why do women menstruate, when virtually no other beings do so? What are the reasons for female orgasm? Why are human females kept in the dark about their own time of ovulation and maximum fertility, and why are they the only animals to experience menopause?

David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, coauthors of acclaimed books on human sexuality and gender, discuss the theories scientists have advanced to explain these evolutionary enigmas (sometimes called "Just-So stories" by their detractors) and present hypotheses of their own. Some scientific theories are based on legitimate empirical data, while others are pure speculation. Barash and Lipton distinguish between what is solid and what remains uncertain, skillfully incorporating their expert knowledge of biology, psychology, animal behavior, anthropology, and human sexuality into their entertaining critiques. Inviting readers to examine the evidence and draw their own conclusions, Barash and Lipton tell an evolutionary suspense story that captures the excitement and thrill of true scientific detection.
A delightful, thought-provoking volume on perennial questions about female biology. Publishers Weekly
The book is well written and even though evolutionary biology can sometimes be difficult to comprehend, the authors do a good job in describing and explaining the various hypotheses encountered. The examples they use shed light on complex biological and evolutionary traits and adaptations. Hennie Weiss, MetaPsychology
1. Introduction
2. On Scientific Mysteries and Just-So Stories
3. Why Munstruate?
4. Invisible Ovulation
5. Breasts and Other Curves
6. The Enigmatic Orgasm
7. The Menopause Mystery
8. Epilogue: The Lure of the Limpopo

About the Author

David P. Barash is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington. An early pioneer of sociobiology, he is the author of twenty-four books, including, with Judith Eve Lipton, The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People.

Judith Eve Lipton is a clinical psychiatrist specializing in women's health and, with David P. Barash, the author of Gender Gap: The Biology of Male-Female Differences and Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships.