Facial masculinity does not appear to be a condition-dependent male ornament and does not reflect MHC heterozygosity in humans

Arslan A. Zaidi, Julie D. White, Brooke C. Mattern, Corey R. Liebowitz, David Andrew Puts, Peter Claes, Mark Shriver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent studies have called into question the idea that facial masculinity is a condition-dependent male ornament that indicates immunocompetence in humans. We add to this growing body of research by calculating an objective measure of facial masculinity/ femininity using 3D images in a large sample (n = 1,233) of people of European ancestry. We show that facial masculinity is positively correlated with adult height in both males and females. However, facial masculinity scales with growth similarly in males and females, suggesting that facial masculinity is not exclusively a male ornament, as male ornaments are typically more sensitive to growth in males compared with females. Additionally, we measured immunocompetence via heterozygosity at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a widely-used genetic marker of immunity. We show that, while height is positively correlated with MHC heterozygosity, facial masculinity is not. Thus, facial masculinity does not reflect immunocompetence measured by MHC heterozygosity in humans. Overall, we find no support for the idea that facial masculinity is a condition-dependent male ornament that has evolved to indicate immunocompetence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1633-1638
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume116
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 29 2019

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Masculinity
Major Histocompatibility Complex
Immunocompetence
Femininity
Growth
Genetic Markers
Immunity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

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title = "Facial masculinity does not appear to be a condition-dependent male ornament and does not reflect MHC heterozygosity in humans",
abstract = "Recent studies have called into question the idea that facial masculinity is a condition-dependent male ornament that indicates immunocompetence in humans. We add to this growing body of research by calculating an objective measure of facial masculinity/ femininity using 3D images in a large sample (n = 1,233) of people of European ancestry. We show that facial masculinity is positively correlated with adult height in both males and females. However, facial masculinity scales with growth similarly in males and females, suggesting that facial masculinity is not exclusively a male ornament, as male ornaments are typically more sensitive to growth in males compared with females. Additionally, we measured immunocompetence via heterozygosity at the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a widely-used genetic marker of immunity. We show that, while height is positively correlated with MHC heterozygosity, facial masculinity is not. Thus, facial masculinity does not reflect immunocompetence measured by MHC heterozygosity in humans. Overall, we find no support for the idea that facial masculinity is a condition-dependent male ornament that has evolved to indicate immunocompetence.",
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Facial masculinity does not appear to be a condition-dependent male ornament and does not reflect MHC heterozygosity in humans. / Zaidi, Arslan A.; White, Julie D.; Mattern, Brooke C.; Liebowitz, Corey R.; Puts, David Andrew; Claes, Peter; Shriver, Mark.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 116, No. 5, 29.01.2019, p. 1633-1638.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Puts, David Andrew

AU - Claes, Peter

AU - Shriver, Mark

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