Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Evolutionary Question Begging

According to this article, handsome male features like high cheek bones may have evolved because of a shift in female mate-selection strategies. As the importance of physical dominance waned, females began choosing handsome males over aggressive males. Interesting, but also, I think, question-begging. The story assumes the attractiveness of high cheek bones. What makes high cheek bones inherently more attractive than sloping brows and enlarged canines? When aggressiveness was more important for survival, I’ll bet females found the large canines pretty hot. For a good evolutionary story, we would need to know what shaped perceptions of attractiveness.

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