Make attractive couples attractive children

Older fathers have less beautiful children?

Anthropologists establish a connection between age-related mutations in male sperm and the attractiveness of children

Men who - for career reasons? - if you only want to have children at an advanced age, be careful: the older fathers are when they conceive, the higher the likelihood that the children will turn out less beautiful, have found Viennese anthropologists. In numbers: "When they are 20 years older, their children are five to ten percent less attractive."

The quote comes from Martin Fieder, researcher in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Together with his research colleague Susanne Huber, he had over ten thousand faces of a US college graduate class of six men and six women examined for their appearance for a study on the relationship between the fatherhood of older men and the attractiveness of their offspring.

Result: a significant correlation between the less beautiful faces and the older age of the father, but not the mother.

Since the above percentages would also correlate with numbers that quantify the risks for diseases and "also with the mutation rates observed so far in male sperm", the scientists rate this as "a clear indication that the same phenomenon is involved". Expressed again in numbers:

"About 15 percent of an adolescent's attractiveness is likely due to this mutation rate."

Since the egg cells are already created in women at birth, older mothers have just as attractive children as young ones, according to German press reports on the study. In the UK, however, reports about the study add some consolation. The children of older fathers would live longer because their telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes, are often longer, which correlates with a longer life expectancy.

The observation of couples suggests another possible correlation: whoever becomes a father at twenty was probably chosen by the mother of his child, not least because of his appearance. On the other hand, if you become a father at fifty, you often have something else to offer the mother of your child: a comfortable, carefree, prosperous life.

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