The Impossible Phenotype

This is an amazing post from Jack Pemment – what are we coming to, or perhaps I should say, “becoming?” Yikes!

Blame the Amygdala

I recently came across this 37 second video posted on the website Upworthy by Laura Willard, and it demonstrates how by using computer software the image of female models can be modified to an impossible, yet preferred, ideal. The video is creepy for any number of reasons, but as a biologist my mind went straight to theories of selection, and it is here where these images just do not make sense. In animal behavior it is widely acknowledged that certain traits in both males and females of many species are found to be preferable to the opposite sex, and this encourages mating behavior and subsequent reproduction. Controversy abounds as biologists debate natural selection versus sexual selection, and when we try to apply these ideas to humans, things just become even more squiffy.

But in humans, in light of sexual preference, there are undoubtedly certain characteristics in those we…

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