University of Manchester biologist. This estimate receives some support from data on heteropaternity, a phenomenon that occurs in fraternal twins. Unlike identical twins, who arise from splitting of the same egg, fraternal twins result when the mother releases more than one egg in an ovulatory cycle. Heteropaternity refers to the circumstance in which each of two eggs is fertilized by different fathers. In Greek mythology the twins Castor and Pollux were the sons respectively of Tyndareus, a king of Sparta, and Zeus, who in the guise of a swan seduced Tyndareus's wife Leda. This may have been the first case of heteropaternity but it was by no means the last. Of fraternal twins born to white women in the United States, 1 in
400 pairs is estimated to have two fathers.209 Among cases where paternity is disputed, 2.4% of cases have been found to be heteropaternal210
For a woman to have a child extramaritally carries a serious risk—that the infant of an extramarital liaison may look suspiciously unlike the father of record, putting both its own life and its mother's at risk. This hazard would have created a strong selective pressure in favor of genes that prevented infants from looking too much like their parents. And indeed babies tend to have chubby faces with indistinct features that give them a rather generic appearance, sharply mitigating the risk that they will look like the wrong father.
To the extent they resemble anyone, babies would be expected to look as much like their mother as their father. But researchers have found that grandparents and others comment far more frequently on a baby's similarities to its father. Mothers tend to state that a baby resembles its father, and do so more often when the father is present, as if trying to assure him of his paternity. "Whether mothers do this consciously, knowing full well that the baby looks nothing like its dad, or whether they deceive themselves into thinking that the baby really does look like the father is unclear," say the authors of a textbook on evolutionary 211
Because of the central significance of reproductive success, evolutionary psychologists have paid particular attention to human mating habits, exploring the signals that govern male and female choice of a mate, and the strategies that each pursues to accomplish its reproductive goals. In studying the mating signals that the human psyche is genetically primed to assess, evolutionary psychologists have found that men in many different cultures of the world prefer women with a waist to hip ratio of 7 to 10. The male eye is probably attuned to these proportions because they signal a woman's fertility. Young women tend to put fat on their hips, breasts and buttocks whereas older women, and those who are pregnant, get thicker at the waist. "A relatively narrow waist means 'I'm female, I'm young, and I'm not pregnant,'" writes
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