When it comes to butt size, some people are more genetically gifted than others. And then there are those who train their lower body hard, squatting and lunging their way to the big butt of their dreams. But did you know that we actually have the largest butts in the entire animal kingdom? When it comes to the butt-to-body-size ratio, human beings got back.
In a new YouTube video from the Institute of Human Anatomy, co-founder Jonathan Bennion and lab director Justin Cottle offer a primer on gluteal anatomy using a cadaver, and explain why the human booty is as big as it is.
The top layer of the butt is the skin, or dermis and epidermis. Under this is the subcutaneous layer known as the hypodermis, comprised of fatty tissue which can be up to inches thick depending on the person. “This is not the reason why people have big butts,” says Bennion, pointing to the next layer down—the gluteus maximus—as the real reason.
“The gluteus maximus, by most measurements, is the largest muscle in the human body and the reason why you have a big butt,” he says. “There’s a lot of girth and size to this thing.”
Of course, this just begs another question: why is the gluteus maximus so large in humans? “That answer comes down to how the gluteus maximus functions with how we walk and move,” says Bennion, using a skeleton to illustrate how the muscle mobilizes the hip joint to cause extension of the legs. And because we, as bipedal creatures, stand with our legs in an extended position, that means the gluteus maximus is being constantly engaged.
“The gluteus maximus is always buzzing, activated, to keep us in this upright extended position,” says Bennion. “When you walk, run, or go on a full-fledged sprint, the gluteus maximus has a really important job, again, to maintain this upright position.”
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