The summary of the beauty of biology

But pollution, disease and other hazards can disrupt development. But here's the catch: while we may find average faces attractive, the faces we find most beautiful are not average. Biologists have long used bilateral symmetry -- the extent to which a creature's right and left sides match -- to gauge what's known as developmental stability.

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Moller, A. A strong indicator of physical beauty is " averageness ". In Koine Greek, beauty was thus associated with "being of one's hour". Binomial classification was inaugurated by Carolus Linnaeus in , using Latin names to group species according to their characteristics. The goddess Venus is the classical personification of beauty. This isn't to say that our preferences are purely innate -- or that beauty is all that matters in life. The biology of beauty. Evolution is the change over time that is the engine of biological diversity. Madonna became a sex symbol despite her strong nose, and Melanie Griffith's strong jaw hasn't kept her out of the movies. Studies from around the world have found that while both sexes value appearance, men place more stock in it than women. Healthy, fertile women typically have waist-hip ratios of. But from a female's perspective, that should make jaw size all the more revealing. And when researchers at the University of Louisville showed a diverse collection of faces to whites, Asians and Latinos from 13 countries, the subjects' ethnic background scarcely affected their preferences. Rolls of fat can signal high status in a poor society or low status in a rich one, and lip plugs go over better in the Kalahari than they do in Kansas.

Scientists can now average faces digitally, and it's still one of the surest ways to make them more attractive. As a result, the least resilient individuals tend to be the most lopsided. In a study, they found that the most symmetrical males had started having sex three to four years earlier than their most lopsided brethren.

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Female zebra finches prefer males with symmetric colorings. Of course not. Female swallows, for example, prefer males with longer and more symmetric tails, while female zebra finches mate with males with symmetrically colored leg bands.

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In light of all Thornhill and Gangestad's findings, you can hardly blame them. They weren't disappointed.

The summary of the beauty of biology

And if there are lingering doubts about the depth of that bias, Johnston's latest findings should dispel them.

The viewers then rate the pictures on a beauty scale from one to nine.

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There's no reason to think that any of these creatures understands its motivations, but there's a clear pattern to their preferences. But as researchers in the Netherlands discovered in a study, even a slight increase in waist size relative to hip size can signal reproductive problems. We may "grow" batteries from bacteria or light buildings with bioluminescent fungi. Since then, she has repeated the drill using white male faces, black female faces, even the faces of other babies, and the same pattern always emerges. The television sitcom Ugly Betty portrays the life of a girl faced with hardships due to society's unwelcoming attitudes toward those they deem unattractive. In the late '80s, Langlois started placing 3- and 6-month-old babies in front of a screen and showing them pairs of facial photographs. It discusses why attractiveness is important from an evolutionary standpoint and the advantages and disadvantages of being attractive. And if there are lingering doubts about the depth of that bias, Johnston's latest findings should dispel them.

Plato's golden proportions, however, haven't quite held up to the rigors of modern psychological and biological research -- though there is credence in the ancient Greeks' attempts to determine a fundamental symmetry that humans find attractive.

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What is Biology? The Science and Study of Living Organisms