Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.


Durham Research Online
You are in:

Male facial appearance and offspring mortality in two traditional societies.

Boothroyd, L.G. and Gray, A.W. and Headland, T.W. and Uehara, R.T. and Waynforth, D. and Burt, D.M. and Pound, N. (2017) 'Male facial appearance and offspring mortality in two traditional societies.', PLoS ONE., 12 (1). e0169181.

Abstract

It has been hypothesised that facial traits such as masculinity and a healthy appearance may indicate heritable qualities in males (e.g. immunocompetence) and that, consequently, female preferences for such traits may function to increase offspring viability and health. However, the putative link between paternal facial features and offspring health has not previously been tested empirically in humans. Here we present data from two traditional societies with little or no access to modern medicine and family planning technologies. Data on offspring number and offspring survival were analysed for the Agta of the Philippines and the Maya of Belize, and archive facial photographs were assessed by observers for attractiveness and masculinity. While there was no association between attractiveness and offspring survival in either population, a quadratic relationship was observed between masculinity and offspring survival in both populations, such that intermediate levels of masculinity were associated with the lowest offspring mortality, with both high and low levels of masculinity being associated with increased mortality. Neither attractiveness nor masculinity were related to fertility (offspring number) in either population. We consider how these data may or may not reconcile with current theories of female preferences for masculinity in male faces and argue that further research and replication in other traditional societies should be a key priority for the field.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
(262Kb)
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
Download PDF
(1169Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169181
Publisher statement:© 2017 Boothroyd et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:14 December 2016
Date deposited:15 December 2016
Date of first online publication:12 January 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Export:
Export
Look up in GoogleScholar