Digital Evolution of The Ideal Female Body – Body Parts Working in Concert
Christopher Philip

If you take 20 female bodies representing a diverse sub-set of women’s current body measures, allow selective pressures to decide which “reproduce,” you end up with what exactly?

Well, a team of researchers led by Robert Brooks, UNSW Australia, Sydney decided to find it.

In their research, they set up a computer model with the help of nearly 20,000 independent judges (online) to put 20 digital female bodies through 8 generation of “natural selection.” Through each generation, the bodies underwent small mutation events and passed along their “genetic” traits (24 attributes in total) to their daughters, whom then underwent the same selection process.

The initial body was rather rounded, with a short stocky build and a high waist-to-hip ratio. In other words, the body was rather obese in it’s appearance.

The results found that 10 of 24 traits changed by more than one standard deviation over seven generations of selection. Further, the elements which changed the most were along slenderness, particularly to produce a narrowing of the waist and lengthening of the legs. The resulting body was also more “shapely” including a larger bust.

Our results also suggest that the integration of the entire body phenotype is at least as important as any one trait, and that more than one way exists to make an attractive body,” say the researchers.

As few have looked at the entire female body as a full unit, this is a novel finding. Since many studies have found some variation in female body preferences, this result supports the idea that it might be more useful to look at how the various body parts interact to produce the ideal body rather than trying to dissect away parts of the body or trying to decide which part of the body is key.

It was also interesting to see that the most overweight bodies were eliminated first. Slenderness was the key overarching feature, but it was not to be stripped away from limb length, most notably of the legs. Over the course of the study, the WHR evolved from 0.81 in generation 1 to 0.69 in generation 8.

Breast size also increased over time. This despite varied reports as to what exactly men find attractive as far as cup size goes. The researchers suggest that this may be because breast size was modified independently from other qualities which may influence perceptions of body mass index and WHR. Therefore, it could very well be that men prefer women who have larger breasts, or more universally prefer breasts of a given size depending, of course, on how they relate to other parts of the body.


Brooks, Robert,C.; Juliette P. Shelly; Lyndon A. Jordan and Barnaby J.W. Dixson. The multivariate evolution of female body shape in an artificial digital ecosystem, Evolution and Human. Behavior. 2015.