Blubber and steatopygia, as depicted in 25,000-year-old Venus figurines, were probably common traits of Stone Age women

Allan Krill

We should reconsider the meaning of the Venus figurines, which have so far been a bit of a mystery. There are hundreds of them, many about 25,000 years old. Most are female figures, with lots of subcutaneous fat (blubber) and large booties (steatopygia). I think that Stone Age women along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea looked like that, and Stone Age men carried a small figurine with them on their travels, as modern men might carry a photo of their wife in their wallet. (Well, the most modern men don't carry a wallet, but have a photo on their smartphone. :-)

Steatopygia was probably adaptive on Bioko. It gave women a perch behind, for their infants to be more secure as they held the mothers' head hair in the water. After 5 million years of human occupation in the water of Bioko, the heavy 'steatopygic' women moved along the coastline to Europe about 50,000 years ago. They preferred the Mediterranean Sea to inland Europe, which was too cold in the winters. Men traveled inland during the summers, some of them died there, leaving fossil skeletons and 'statuettes of their wives' when they died.

When we look at Stone Age Venus figurines, we should not think of steatopygia and obesity as some sort of artistic style, but as typical traits of Stone Age women.