Monday, May 2, 2011

The look-alike paternity test

I stumbled across an interesting article discussing research that found that babies look more like their fathers than their mothers.  Here is one of the studies the article mentions:

"In 1995, a study in Nature put the question to the test by having 122 people try to match pictures of children they didn't know - at one year, 10 years and 20 years- with photos of their mothers and fathers.  The group members correctly paired about half of the infants with their fathers, but their success rate was much lower matching infants and mothers. And matching the 20-year-olds with either parent proved to be just as hard."

I think a larger sample size would have made the study's findings a bit more persuasive, but the results are interesting nonetheless.  Could this be nature's paternity test? 

Before the advent of DNA testing, a man had no assurance that a baby was indeed his own.  This could pose a problem for a baby, if there was any question as to the faithfulness its mother.  Rather than invest his time, energy, and resources raising a baby that may be the spawn of someone else, he could choose to abandon it if he suspected he was not the father.  So what better way to ensure that Daddy sticks around than to look like him?

When Carina was first born and still, even today, everyone remarks on how much she looks like M.  We get comments all the time claiming that her eyes, skin tone, even her balding head (ha!) look just like Dad.  I have not heard a single person say that she -or any part of her, looks like me.  One of the choir ladies at church even said to M, "there's no doubt about it, that baby is yours!"  Was there ever any doubt?  What a strange thing to say...

What do you think?  Does she look like me, or M?

Tell me about your babies.  When first born, did he and/or she look like Mom or Dad?

Photobucket

18 words of geekdom:

Alyssa said...

I think she looks like Dad!

Kristin said...

Carina looks like her daddy. My DD looks like me, though, and has from the minute she was born, and I look exactly like my father. So perhaps, rather than looking like me, she looks like him? I think, if people were asked to match babies with their grandparents, people would rightly put her with her grandpa.

Heather said...

Carina looks like her daddy!
Lennox looks just like her daddy too - i honestly don't see it, but everyone says she does!

Angela Noelle said...

I do think that Carina looks a lot like her dad. But as she grows, her features will change and there's a good chance that she'll have a lot of you in her too :)

As for the study, I have a couple of theories. I think babies just inherently look a lot more male, so maybe it's easier for people to identify them with the fathers. Also, moms frequently don't look like their "real selves" because of make up and hair styles. Interesting info though.

Kimberly said...

darker tones are dominant. I have darker hair and skin. My husband is blond and pale. Our boys mostly have my coloring and eye, but his face shape.

I have noticed that female infants/children often look like their day but make offspring often look like their mom..... buy I think this all of this 'looks like...' is often ideals and opinions. I hear the same child (mine or others) being likened to both mom and dad- depends on who is looking.

I think asking moms will give different results than asking just dad. and asking people who have never had children. I think the variables of the people being asked need to be controlled better for this type of test.

heatherlynnelange.com said...

She looks like her dad, but not all the way! I can see you in there, too.

My husband and I (http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v172/89/28/10001890/n10001890_38049961_10.jpg) thought our son would look just like husband, since he's has dark skin, hair, and eyes. But people give *me* the "Oh, there's no doubt he's your baby" line, which I agree can feel a bit accusatory. Baby Carter is paler than me, has blue eyes and red hair. How's that for part Mexican? http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/216504_10100416283920581_10001890_59147444_6642177_n.jpg

Caroline said...

I'm right there with you. Not a single soul has ever said that any part of Aidan looks like any part of me. It's kind of depressing, actually.

Mrs. W said...

Carina definitely looks like her Dad!!!
Forrest looks exactly like his Dad too! Everywhere we go everyone we see always tells us that too! We are told so often that he looks like the spitting image of his dad that sometimes (as silly as this sounds) I used to get a little sad about him looking nothing like me -afterall I did carry him for 9 months and give birth to him. Even strangers used to comment on it! We've also heard the strange comment about "no doubt about it he's your baby" which I too found soooo bizarre and maybe even a little insulting!! Now though, we see that Forrest has my eyes! But I totally agree that it is natures way of making the man feel secure about the paternity of his child!

MV said...

Ha! Yes, C looks just like her papa! My girl looks just like her papa too.

Kristin from our growing garden said...

That's an interesting thought about babies looking like fathers to assure that they stick around. James looks just like me. He has my exact phenotype (traits you can see, eye color, hair color etc). I think Carina looks like her Daddy. I tried very hard to find some of you in there but she is her dad's female mini-me! I bet more of you will show as she grows older :)

Sarah :) said...

More people than not have commented that Nora looks like her Daddy, or at least her Daddy's side of the family. I see some of me and my family in her, but no one else does lol!

Sweet Jo said...

I think she looks a lot like M, but I definitely see some Mama G in there too!

Nurses & mothers told me immediately that Calvin looked like his daddy while I was being wheeled down the hallway! WTH? Recently, I've started getting more comments about him looking like me. I think his features are changing as he gets older and I definitely see myself in him now. :)

Mama G said...

@heather - my goodness you are right! Your little man looks just like you!

Anonymous said...

She looks just like M!

Emma was my clone when she was born, it was kind of freaky how much she looked like me. Now that she's older people say she is a perfect mix of both my husband and I

Carolyn said...

Heehee, she does look just like M! When my son was born EVERYONE unanimously agreed that he was my husband's "mini-me" (that made me feel a teeny bit left out!) As he's gotten older, though, people have started pointing out that he looks more and more like me. I think it totally is nature's way of keeping Dad's from suspecting they've been cuckolded ;)

Regina Wade said...

I agree that Carina does look like her daddy. How sweet! :)

My kids look like me. They might have a few features of their daddy, but even at almost 4 (girl) and 1 year (boy), they still strongly favor me. We've gotten comments about it before--"Did daddy have anything to do with them?!" sort of comments, which are annoying.

Allison said...

As an infant she definitely looked just like Mike, but in recent pictures I'm see you in her as well. Those big brown eyes are hard to get past though - so pretty!

vanessa said...

I love this post! I had always pondered whether babies look like their fathers so that the father will stick around, but have never heard of a study as such.

Our girl looks exactly like her Daddy, too, and guess what? The sonographer at her anatomy scan even told us right then that she looked (and would continue to look) like him!

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