Breasts come in dissimilar shapes and sizes, however, there’s one single thing they all have in common: They are unique to humans. More than 5,000 mammalian species inhabit this planet. Still, Homo sapiens are the only life forms with permanent breasts.
Some may call this human anomaly sexy, but it also raises the question: Why are human breasts so big? Were they an evolutionary mistake?
All the mammal grows temporary breasts during ovulation or nursing. The objective of having breasts are to produce milk for breastfeeding. Therefore, when the breastfeeding time period is over, the breasts will also vanish. However, it is different for humans because breasts form during adolescence age and not during pregnancy period. Therefore, at some point in our evolution, something changed. Why? As an example, in 1987 biologist Tim Caro explored seven existing theories on this subject. One was that breasts give newborns to nurse from the hip, giving their mothers more flexibility to multitask. However, it doesn’t clarify why breasts still there even after the nursing stage is over.
According to the book, “The Naked Ape.” In it, Desmond Morris mentioned that breasts indicate and evolve as a sex symbol to replace the swelling rear end of other female primates during ovulation. Once our ancestors started walking upright, the sexual organs were no longer as clear to spot. So males had no understandable way of knowing when a female was sexually developed, and breasts may have formed as an outcome. So a theory can explain why women’s chests swell during puberty, but it still fails to explain why they stick around even after menopause.
If we can observe the human breast closely. The clearest difference would be that they consist more fat than other female mammals. So this fat fills out the breast tissue with a shape. Human breasts can become very large it can make back and chest pain. Due to this reason, many women get breast reductions. More than 61,000 received a breast reduction in 2016 in the US alone. However, for some females breasts are not uncomfortable. Sometimes they can also be deadly because Breast cancer is one of the causes of cancer-related deaths in women around the world. It is estimated that 1.5 million woman each year and killed 570,000 of them in 2015.
Breast cancer is not occurring in other mammals. Therefore, when growing old it can increase with age, and other primates die early before developing breast cancer. Sometimes it also something to do with the everlasting breast tissue itself.
Cancer is more common in rapidly dividing tissue. Every time cells are born and die there’s an opportunity within the cell cycle to make mistakes in repairing DNA. And essentially a cell with mistakes can become a cancer cell. Breast tissue divides at a rapid pace so there’s greater opportunity to make mistakes. That may explain why removing both breasts reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer by at least 95%.
All cancers begin in cells. Our bodies are made up of more than a hundred million million (100,000,000,000,000) cells. Cancer starts with changes in one cell or a small group of cells. Every time cells are born and die there’s a change within the cell cycle to make mistakes in repairing DNA. And fundamentally a cell with mistakes can become a cancer cell. Breast tissue divides at a rapid pace so there’s greater opportunity to make mistakes. That may explain why removing both breasts reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer by at least 95%.
Breast tissue is found in the breast, upper chest and the armpit. Each breast contains 15-20 glands called lobes, where milk is produced. These lobes are connected to the nipple by tubes called ducts. The structure of the lobes and ducts is a bit like the branches of a tree. Breast cancer usually begins within the lobes.
Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University who studies the neurological basis of complex social behaviors, thinks human evolution has harnessed an ancient neural circuit that originally evolved to strengthen the mother-infant bond during breastfeeding, and now uses this brain circuitry to strengthen the bond between couples as well.
I am a Business Management graduate from the University Of Staffordshire (UK) and a qualified personnel officer who completed the National Diploma of Training and Human Resource development at Institute of Personnel Management (Sri-Lanka).
Apart from my professional career in the field of HRM, I am also a freelance writer of web and business contents.
“So a theory can explain why women’s chests swell during puberty, but it still fails to explain why they stick around even after menopause.” No explanation is needed. Nothing that happens after menopause is much of a concern for evolution. Evolution only effects things within the reproductively capable span of our lives. Everything after menopause is just coasting on biological momentum from before it – there is no evolutionary selection pressure for anything to change after menopause so evolution doesn’t care if you do or don’t have breasts after it. The momentum from before menopause says you should have breasts… Read more »