A1 Journal article – refereed
Facial attractiveness and fertility in populations with low levels of modern birth control

List of Authors: Silva AS, Lummaa V, Muller U, Raymond M, Alvergne A
Publication year: 2012
Journal: Evolution and Human Behavior
Journal name in source: EVOLUTION AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR
Journal acronym: EVOL HUM BEHAV
Volume number: 33
ISSN: 1090-5138

Evolutionary models of human mate choice generally assume that physical attractiveness has evolved through sexual selection, i.e., it has been associated with higher mating opportunities and subsequent reproductive success across our evolutionary history. Here we investigate whether facial attractiveness is related to fertility in order to understand the extent to which selection can operate on attractive traits in modem populations. We used data from two populations where the prevalence of modem birth control methods is low and thus unlikely to disconnect mating opportunities from reproductive success: men and women from contemporary rural Senegal and men from the West Point Military Academy in the USA who graduated in 1950. We found that facial attractiveness negatively predicts age-specific reproduction in both sexes in Senegal and is independent from lifetime reproductive success in men from the USA. Overall, the results suggest that facial attractiveness is not under positive selection and raise questions about methodological approaches currently used to assess attractiveness. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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