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Research has also been conducted to show a connection in the different anatomical locations between the sexes as linked to pathogen prevalence in their area. Scarification in these areas is thought to be done to clearly show which individuals are pathogen-resistant mates. It is thought that as pathogen severity increase, so should permanent marking of body areas that are attended to for evaluating attractiveness and mate quality. Females were predicted to scarify their breasts and stomachs (due to the stomach being a component of waist-to-hip ratio), both indicative of youthfulness and fertility. Males were predicted to scarify those body parts indicative of sexual maturity and strength, such as the face, shoulders, and arms. The findings of this research revealed that pathogen prevalence predicts female stomach scarification independent of polygyny, famine, and social class stratification. The relationship between scarification of body parts and pathogen prevalence was not evident for males. These findings, based upon between-society comparisons, suggest that stomach scarification could act as a signal of female mate quality in societies that encounter a high prevalence of pathogens.

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