Date of Original Version
Sociology and Anthropology
While the anatomy and physiology of human reproduction differ between the sexes, the effects of hormones on skeletal growth do not. Human bone growth depends on estrogen. Greater estrogen produced by ovaries causes bones in female bodies to fuse before males' resulting in sex differences in adult height and mass. Female pelves expand more than males' due to estrogen and relaxin produced and employed by the tissues of the pelvic region and potentially also due to greater internal space occupied by female gonads and genitals. Evolutionary explanations for skeletal sex differences (aka sexual dimorphism) that focus too narrowly on big competitive men and broad birthing women must account for the adaptive biology of skeletal growth and its dependence on the developmental physiology of reproduction. In this case, dichotomizing evolution into proximate‐ultimate categories may be impeding the progress of human evolutionary science, as well as enabling the popular misunderstanding and abuse of it.
Dunsworth, H. (2020). Expanding the evolutionary explanations for sex differences in the human skeleton. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews. In press.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21834