Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cute babies, anxious daddys, cheating moms

Investment? Under uncertainty? Thats economics isn't it? Well yes but we don't have a monopoly of the subject and evolutionary biologists have long been interested in parental investment in offspring. Economists could do with looking at some of this stuff. The uncertainty arises because males can't be sure the little one's are actually their offspring. Because some females, well, you know...
So whats a guy to do? Well one theory is that males use facial resemblance: if the baby looks like you (& not the legendary milkman) then the return to your investment, in the sense of passing your genes on, is higher. The paper below test this theory and related ideas.

Are parents' perceptions of offspring facial resemblance consistent with actual resemblance? Effects on parental investment. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31 (2010) 7–15, Alexandra Alvergne, Charlotte Faurie, Michel Raymond

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