The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Women dress to conceive, not kill

Paris, Jan. 10 (AFP): Women take greater care over their appearance when they are at peak levels of monthly fertility, a study set to appear in next Saturday’s New Scientist says.

Researchers at the University of California worked with 30 women aged 18 to 37. They took two photographs of each volunteer, one when the woman was near ovulation and highly fertile, and the other at a point of low fertility in the menstrual cycle.

Observers were then asked to look at the photos to decide which of the two showed the woman trying to look more attractive. They chose the woman in her “high fertility” photograph nearly 60 per cent of the time more often than would be expected by chance.

“Though not in the same class as the obvious physical cues other primate females give when they are ovulating, it is the first evidence that women openly advertise their fertility,” the British weekly says.

The scientists were intrigued that all the women volunteers said they were in a committed relationship with men. If so, why would they go to the trouble of dressing up'

A possible answer: a genetic drive which prompts women with high fertility to feel attracted to men other than their primary partners.

The paper appears in full in a specialist US journal, Hormones and Behavior, published by the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

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