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Ladies Prefer Thin Over Macho

Macho features have long been touted as an evolutionary asset that heterosexual women look for in a potential mate. But new research suggests weight may be a more powerful driver of attraction.

Macho features such as a strong jaw and squinty eyes advertise that a guy possesses high testosterone, according to the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis. Since high levels of this masculinizing hormone interfere with the immune system, the theory goes, macho men must be extra-fit to withstand the handicap their extra testosterone confers.

However, a new study finds that while women do respond more favorably to the faces and bodies of men with strong immune responses, they seem to cue into fatness and thinness, not macho features, when making their judgments.

Fatness, or adiposity, "is an obvious choice for a marker of immunity because of its strong association with health and immunity," study researcher Vinet Coetzee, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, told LiveScience.
 
 

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