Is Eye Color A Clue To Paternity?
Could you tell if your baby was yours just by looking into their eyes? Maybe. At least, that is what researchers are saying.
A new study conducted by the University of Tromso suggests a child's eye color may reveal their paternity. The human eye, according to the study, reflects a predictable genetic pattern that demonstrates how traits are inherited. The studies, to be published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, find that blue-eyed men typically find similarly colored women more attractive than their darker counterparts.
This may be due to an unconscious adaptation men have to detect paternity, related to eye color. What this means is blue-eyed men prefer mating with blue-eyed women because they will produce blue-eyed offspring... which are clearly identifiable as one's own child. A blue-eyed male who mates with a blue-eyed female and has a brown-eyed child may raise a few eyebrows.
This new study confirmed that even today, modern blue-eyed men have a distinct preference for blue-eyed women, even when all other factors are held constant (like the attractiveness of the girl).
Typically geneticists have broken down eye color into the following patterns of inheritance:
1. If both parents are blue eyed then all children are likely to have blue eyes.
2. If both parents have darker eyes, and blue eyes run in their families, then roughly ¼ of the children will have blue eyes and the rest brown.
Typically brown eyes represent a dominate allele thus are more common than blue eyes, which represent a recessive trait. If a child is born with brown eyes and both the mother and the father have blue eyes, then one might conclude the child does not belong to the biological father.
The study primarily asked participants to rate the attractiveness of various models with varying eye colors using a computer. Women, whether blue-eyed or brown-eyed showed no difference in their attraction to eye color in men. Men however, with blue eyes, rated women with blue eyes as more attractive. Women with brown eyes also had blue-eyes artificially superimposed on their images. Blue-eyed men that didn't find the women attractive before, did after they realized the women had blue-eyes, even if the eye color was an illusion.
A second study conducted provided similar results, suggesting blue-eyed men clearly prefer women with blue eyes rather than brown eyes when selecting mates.
Subconscious Preferences For Blue Eyed Gals
The interesting part of the study is that most of these decisions were made at the subconscious levels. Scientists or researchers conducting the study suggested that this predilection for someone with the same eye color has to do with a learned value attributed to physical trait and the ability of one to identify their own kin through similar features, like eye color.
The study findings did not show however, that brown eyed men had the same instinctive nature to chose brown eyed women, thus it appears only blue-eyed men are predisposed to selecting women with blue-eyes to match their features. This may be because there is more chance for brown eyed fathers to have children with blue or brown eyes.
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