Beautiful people are healthier and live longer, according to a study of sex appeal.
The discovery has come from research conducted across cultures and species that focused on one trait that earlier work found was attractive: symmetry.
No one disputes that symmetrical faces, such as that of Kate Moss, are more attractive.
But why? One idea is that the trait is an advert of genetic quality or fertility.
An alternative view is that preferences for a symmetrical face arose from cultural factors and say nothing about health, fecundity and other biological factors.
Now support for the idea that a symmetrical face is indeed a strong advert of mate ‘quality’ is published today in the journal PLoS One by Dr Anthony Little of the University of Stirling and colleagues.
Using mug shots of Europeans, the Hadza of Tanzania, one of the last hunter gatherer cultures, and macaque monkeys, measurements were made and people were asked to judge the masculinity of the most and least symmetric pictures.
Whether a member of a troop or a tribe, symmetric males had more masculine facial proportions and symmetric females had more feminine facial proportions.
"In humans, if you look at female models, for example, they tend to be pretty symmetric and at the extremes of femininity," Dr Little says.
He adds "One good face trait deserves another - symmetric men and women appear to have other good face traits".
( some more words... but dont worry, some pictures tooCollapse )