Breasts come in different sizes and shapes, but there is one thing they all have in common. They are unique to humans. More than 5,000 mammalian species (a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals) inhabit this planet, yet the Homo sapiens (human beings) are the only life forms with permanent breasts.
Some may call this human anomaly sexy, but it also begs the question, why are human breasts so big, and were they an evolutionary mistake?
Every other mammal develops temporary breasts during ovulation and, or nursing. Basically, their purpose is to produce milk, so once the milk is gone, the breasts disappear. But this is not the case for female humans whose breasts form during puberty, not pregnancy.
Actually, the human being is one of the climaxes of Allah’s creation. Allah provides him the wisdom that distinguishes him from other living organisms. According to Islam, the intimate parts of the human body must be covered by clothing. Initially, Breasts are the sign of puberty in females and later on it is used as a feeding organ.
Breasts are also the source of attraction for the opposite sex, so to expose them uncover is regarded as sin in Islam. Later on scientific researchers also explain this phenomenon by hypothesis and studies.
For example, in 1987, biologist Tim Caro explored seven existing theories on this subject. One was that breasts allowed mothers to nurse newborns from their hips, giving them more mobility to multitask. But it does not explain why breasts stick around after the nursing stage is over.
Perhaps the most popular idea was first proposed by Charles Darwin and later explored by Zoologist, Desmond Morris, in his 1967 book, The Naked Ape.
In it, Morris suggests that breasts evolved as a sex symbol, to replace the swelling rear end of other female primates during ovulation. Once our ancestors starting walking upright, the sexual organs were no longer as obvious to spot, so males had no way of knowing when a female was sexually mature, and breasts may have formed as a result.
This theory would at least explain why women’s chests swell during puberty, but it still cannot explain why they stick around after menopause.
When the internal structure of the human breast is observed, it is found that the big difference is that it contains more fat than other female mammals. The fat fills out the breast tissue, giving it shape, sort of like milk, but permanent.
The human breast can become so large, it can cause back and chest pain. This is why many women get breast reductions. More than 61,000 cases had received breast reduction surgery in 2016 in the U.S alone. But breasts are not only uncomfortable for some, they can also be deadly.
Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in women, worldwide. It affects roughly one and a half million women each year and it killed 570,000 of them in 2015.
In Islamic countries, the ratio of breast cancer is usually less. This is because; the religion Islam provides full guidance to each and every aspect of life. Islam encourages breast-feeding from birth to two years.
When Muslim mothers face breastfeeding problems, they may feel very disappointed and scared that they might not be able to reach their goal of breastfeeding for two years and often may experience feelings of guilt.
But in many modern cultures, the duration of breastfeeding is much shorter, often ending after one year, which later on becomes the reason for creating several problems.
Yet as far as scientists can tell, breast cancer is not common in other primates. This could be because the risk of cancer increases with age, and other primates do not live long enough to develop breast cancer, or perhaps, it could have something to do with the permanent tissue itself.
According to Dr. Callahan, cancer is more common in rapidly dividing tissues. Every time cells is born and die, there is an opportunity within the cell cycle to make mistakes in repairing DNA and essentially, a cell with mistakes can become a cancerous cell. Breast tissue divides at a rapid pace, so there is a greater opportunity to make mistakes.
That may explain why removing both breasts reduce a women’s risk of breast cancer by 95%.
Of course, breasts have established their place in human culture and society. They can make women feel wanted, liberated, or empowered. And they have helped build entire empires based simply on their power to attract. It looks like, for better or worse, human breasts are here to stay.