June 10th, 2009

Beer

Looking like daddy has material rewards

Children who look and smell like their father receive more of their support, compared to kids who resemble dad less.

The study of 30 Senegalese families has provided the first direct link between a father's investment in his children and his physical resemblance to them, though other work has hinted at this connection.

For instance, a study conducted at London's Heathrow Airport found that fathers invested extra time and money in children who looked and behaved like them, compared with dads who said their kid's looks and personalities differed from their own.

Such uncharitable behaviour may seem shocking, but evolutionary theory predicts it. Without a DNA test and an appearance on the Jerry Springer Show, a father can never be absolutely certain that a child is his own.

Therefore, it makes evolutionary sense to divvy out limited resources – be they time, food or money – to children more likely to be legitimate.

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