Do you enjoy distance running? It may be a ‘signal’ of desirability


New research published in the April 2015 edition of PLoS ONE shows that fitness in men does payoff in regards to being more desirable to women, especially if you’re a good distance runner.

Male resourcefulness and other desirable traits, such as intelligence and athleticism indicate higher reproductive potential in other theories of desirable male genes among hunter-gatherers.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge investigated the association between male desirability and endurance running ability as a potential signal of male reproductive fitness since running prowess is vital in the act of hunting. Good runners were likely to be better persistence hunters and consequently better providers.

542 marathon runners were tested for specific finger lengths. Previous studies have showed that those exposed to more prenatal testosterone have a longer ring finger (4th digit) in comparison to their index finger (2nd digit). Researchers found 10% of men with the most masculine digit ratios were, on average, 24 minutes and 33 seconds faster than the 10% of men with the least masculine digit ratios.

Researchers believe that endurance running prowess may have been used by females as a reliable signal of high male genetic quality during our hunter-gatherer past, as good runners are more likely to have other traits of desirable hunters and providers, such as intelligence and generosity.


Journal Reference:
Daniel Longman, Jonathan C. K. Wells, Jay T. Stock. Can Persistence Hunting Signal Male Quality? A Test Considering Digit Ratio in Endurance Athletes.PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (4): e0121560


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