Men look for brains rather than beauty and physical attributes when choosing a mother for their children, according to a leading evolutionary biologist.
Professor David Bainbridge, of the University of Cambridge, says intelligence is the most attractive quality for men looking for a long term partner because it demonstrates that his chosen partner is likely to be a responsible parent.
It also suggests she was brought up by intelligent parents and so was likely to be well looked after in childhood - and so healthier.
It may explain why George Clooney ended up marrying human rights barrister Amal Alamuddin – although we’re sure her beauty may have played a small part in attracting him initially.
"The main thing that men are looking for is intelligence," Prof Bainbridge told the Hay Festival.
"It shows that she will be able to look after his children and that her parents were probably intelligent as well, suggesting that she was raised well."
Professor Bainbridge’s book Curvology: The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape goes on to say that - from an evolutionary point of view - men do not actually care about breast size or leg length.
"Breast size doesn’t matter," Bainbridge says.
"Men are not looking for long legs. Straight legs are a sign of genetic health so that is something that is more attractive, but surveys have shown most men prefer regular length."
Studies have found that women's mate preferences shift according to their menstrual cycle. During peak levels of fertility research suggests they prefer more masculine and socially dominant men while during less fertile phases they're drawn to more feminine and compassionate men. These men are referred to as 'dads' and tend to be more reliable, warm, and faithful than their more masculine counterparts. They also offer greater prospects for a long-term relationship according to Parental Investment Theory. When it comes to age, most women prefer older guys who are intelligent and have high social status according to research.
Typically evolutionary biologists have concentrated on the physical appeal of women to men when studying mate selection concluding that males tend to seek relatively young women with full lips, breasts, and hips, and a smaller waist - so Prof Bainbridge's research is unique in concluding that intelligence could play such a crucial role.