Why handsome men make better cyclists
A new study has found a link between sexiness and cycling success, suggesting that attractive professional cyclists are more successful than their counterparts.
In a range of species, females show clear preferences when it comes to the choice of their partner- they decide on the basis of external features like antler size or plumage coloration whether a male will be a good father to her offspring, or whether he will provide them with good genes.
Erik Postma, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich, has now demonstrated that humans have similar skills. The faces of riders that performed better during the Tour de France were deemed more attractive, showing that we can assess a men's endurance performance by looking at his face.
During the course of human evolution, hunting success and, by extension, feeding a family depended on the ability to chase game for hours and days.
"That's why endurance performance was a key evolutionary factor", Postma said.
Given the benefits a physically fit partner would have provided, the researcher hypothesised that facial attractiveness has evolved to signal, among others, endurance performance.
The link between attractiveness and physical performance was strongest in women who were not using a hormonal contraceptive. These women found the faces of men who did well in the race to be particularly attractive.
By contrast, the preference for fast riders was less pronounced in both women on the pill and in men.
The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.
(Posted on 06-02-2014)
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