Conrad McCallum in The Toronto Star:
Since hunter-gatherer times, men have relied not on DNA swabs but on a little-understood calculus of physical resemblance to decide whether to invest in little Emma or Ethan. In the infant’s upper face and eyes, the skeptical pater familias looks for clues.
Comedian Chris Rock probably went through a similar mental process after a Georgia woman claimed he fathered of a child she had 13 years ago. Ditto Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern when they first saw Anna Nicole Smith’s baby daughter, Dannielynn, born last September. Birkhead, after DNA testing, was determined the biological dad and won custody of his little look-alike following Smith’s death last February.
The latest study, done early this year by Brock University psychology professor Anthony Volk, show cues of genetic relatedness are more important to men than women. He showed photos of infants’ faces to male and female subjects, and asked them to make hypothetical adoption choices. In the journal Evolutionary Psychology, Volk reported that men reacted more positively to children with facial traits resembling them, while women’s decisions were influenced more by healthy looks.