| || || | T'S a weighty issue but we're determined to get to the bottom of it: Does Jennifer Lopez have a lovely, shapely rump, or just a big backside? The 40-year-old singer was pictured in yesterday's Sun showing off her renowned rear in a red bikini as she holidayed in Capri, Italy. Her curvy derriere is a million miles from the scrawny seats of Posh Spice and Kate Moss, but who's really got the bum deal? Here a scientist brings his theory of rear-lativity...
IT'S not so much the size of a bum that is important, but its shape.
Looking at a picture of J-Lo you see her bottom is not only large but also pert.
In later age this won't be the case, so J-Lo's rear is a clue to her youth and therefore her fertility.
There was a famous study into the phenomenon of what makes breasts so appealing.
It concluded pert breasts indicated youthfulness and are more likely to belong to a young woman who has a long lifetime of having children ahead.
This would make her an ideal mate.
I presume that likewise men who find big, shapely bums attractive may be weighing up the girl's potential to bear children.
If her bottom is still peachy and youthful she is more likely to be able to reproduce, and for longer.
The waist-hip ratio has been used by scientists to gauge lower body attractiveness.
You get this by dividing the circumference of the waist by that of the hip.
A low ratio score is seen to be attractive in women as it signifies a slim waist with shapely hips and behind.
Another famous study took account of the fat stored around women's hips, which is mostly comprised of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These are important for foetal brain development, and of the women tested, those with low waist-hip ratios were found to produce children of greater intelligence.
Therefore, the idea of big bottoms and child-bearing hips is probably linked to more than just attractiveness.
They correlate with being more fit to survive reproduction and to eventually produce higher-quality offspring.
You often hear that Renaissance artists favoured plump nudes and then the love of fat women died out. I'm not so sure.
In Victorian times women wore huge bustles to exaggerate the size of their behinds to a ridiculous degree.
During the Second World War, pin-ups were extremely curvy, with pert, round breasts and plump bottoms to match.
Shapely bottoms aren't only appreciated in the United Kingdom and the West, either.
In general they are universally preferred - although the populations of East Asian countries have smaller behinds than the likes of Latin America, where big bums are very common.
Many statues of curvy Indian goddesses have their breasts on display, with small waists and large bottoms.
My suspicion is that throughout history and around the globe - no matter what the prevailing public attitude is towards bottom size - a pert posterior has always been more attractive than a sagging one.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA