Best male biathletes 'more attractive'

athletic men
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Top male biathletes are more attractive to the opposite sex, according to a new study by scientists at the universities of Exeter and Bristol.

This result, say the team, fits with the theory that have an evolved preference for more athletic men, who in past times were better able to provide for their families.

The scientists asked people to rate passport-style photos of 156 men and women who take part in the biathlon World Cup, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

Male biathletes with a higher career-best score were judged as physically more attractive by the opposite sex, but there was no such relationship for female biathletes.

The study, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, is the first to show such a difference between perceptions of male and .

Dr. Tim Fawcett of the University of Exeter, who led the research, said: "Previous studies had found that faster Tour de France cyclists and better NFL quarterbacks are more attractive, but they ignored female sports.

"In the biathlon, where both sexes compete, our data show that this relationship holds for men but not for women.

"This sex difference is predicted by evolutionary theories, based on the idea that in ancestral populations it was probably men who did most of the hunting."

The results imply that sporting success is linked to something visible in the photos that women find attractive.

Professor Andy Radford of the University of Bristol, a co-author on the study, said: "Successful athletes might have happier, more confident expressions, and there's also some evidence that men with wider faces are more physically dominant.

"But in our study, women did not prefer men who were smiling or had wider faces.

"Further work is needed to pinpoint what makes the top-performing men more attractive."

The study highlights how our evolutionary history has shaped the way we respond to other people's appearances.

Dr. Fawcett said: "Although a preference for more athletic men doesn't have the same relevance in today's society, it's fascinating to discover how sensitive we are to subtle differences in the way people look, and how this might be linked to their abilities and success."

The biathletes rated as most attractive were US Olympian Lowell Bailey and Czech Olympian Eva Puskarčíková.


Explore further

Setting fair regulations for top female athletes that have naturally higher testosterone levels

More information: Attractiveness is positively related to World Cup performance in male, but not female, biathletes by Tim W. Fawcett, Jack Ewans, Alice Lawrence and Andrew N. Radford is published in Behavioral Ecology.
Journal information: Behavioral Ecology

Citation: Best male biathletes 'more attractive' (2019, July 10) retrieved 23 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-male-biathletes.html
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mqr
Jul 10, 2019
Why evolution would favor smaller women? it seems that if a predator was attacking a prehistoric family, the family would be best served by having two muscular fighters instead of one. Same with hunting, better to have two hunters than only one.

How come evolution made women weaker?

The problem is that it seems that nature is not a great feninist.

I am not mentioning God, because the liberal evolutionists hate God. So I mention "nature".

Jul 10, 2019
Why evolution would favor smaller women? it seems that if a predator was attacking a prehistoric family, the family would be best served by having two muscular fighters instead of one. Same with hunting, better to have two hunters than only one.

How come evolution made women weaker?

Maybe because men prefer to mate with girly girls, not with muscular men looking girls. Or it could be because it's more economical to have one strong and much eating person than two even thought with two it would be safer.

Evolution often drives towards specialization because it's economical. That is way one went to hunt and one stayed home with children.

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
It seems that the evolution explanation adapts to whatever is happening.

Why would our ancestors prefer a non muscular smaller woman? to dominate her physically? Does that means that our ancestors did not like living everyday our current continuous fights with women.....

I would like to see computer simulations showing the emergence of that asymmetry between men and women.

For example, I would like to see simulations showing that in a tribal war, the army with weaker women can win, whereas the army with both strong men and strong women would lose.

Or it would be nice having a simulation too where bears attack communities, and the communities where women were weaker were better at fighting the bear and surviving.

Fortunately we are protected from American feminism on this site. Otherwise this exchange would be impossible. If in the USA ANYONE wants to have this conversation, he would lose his job very quickly.

Jul 10, 2019
Now I know why wearing my skin tight jammers at our local YMCA olympic pool draws so much attention from so many women.

Jul 10, 2019
For example, I would like to see simulations showing that in a tribal war, the army with weaker women can win, whereas the army with both strong men and strong women would lose.

Your thinking this totally wrong. Women are not supposed to fight. They possibly were left alive in tribal wars only because they were so weak. If they were muscular and strong they would need to be eliminated like men. Thus, better for reproduction to stay weak.

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
I am familiar with evolution "explaining" everything, mostly because it has no equations, or algorithms, so it is an informal "theory". By building simulations, the theory must stay stable for testing.

For example, where the theory says that women are not supposed to fight? Today's data shows that at least in the USA women start physical attacks against men in 80% of cases.

Jul 10, 2019
For example, where the theory says that women are not supposed to fight? Today's data shows that at least in the USA women start physical attacks against men in 80% of cases.

Maybe someday we have the means to create our own little test environments and test evolution for real.

Theory does not say that women are not supposed to fight. It's the historical facts that show us that women didn't fight. Yes, there were few famous women warriors but it was mostly men sent to war. Someone needs to take care of the home when others are warring.

Here's one quick quote for you from No Woman No War: Women's Participation in Ancient Greek Warfare: "When Greek cities faced an imminent attack or were under a siege, women often provided invaluable moral support and encouragement to the men defending their homes. Indeed, surely the mere fact that the men had their mothers, sisters, wives, lovers, and daughters in the cities actually motivated them to fight"

Jul 10, 2019
If they are bi, then what is the opposite sex? /sarc

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
I understand how the past has been, I know women did not fight in most wars. My point is that according to evolution as proposed by Darwin, those things that helps survival are selected. So how come having a weaker partner gives me more chances for survival when I am under attack by other tribes, predators, etc.

Evolution has been critized by people before for being tautological i.e., it does not have falsible claims, it can explain everything.

We have the means/environment to proof this: computers. We can make simple models, probably agent based ones, where we can see who is more likely to survive, the weaker partner that stays in the corner while the stronger partner fights the bear, or the couple with two equally stronger partners fighting the bear.

Jul 10, 2019
I understand how the past has been, I know women did not fight in most wars. My point is that according to evolution as proposed by Darwin, those things that helps survival are selected. So how come having a weaker partner gives me more chances for survival when I am under attack by other tribes, predators, etc.

It isn't about your survival, it's about her survival. Even if you are killed, she can survive by being week and exploitable. Well, not against animal predators but you should get the point. As people lived in tribes, animals weren't the problem but other tribes were. So no point of calculating is it better to fight a bear alone or with a strong woman.


mqr
Jul 10, 2019
Animals were not the problem lol.... animals still are the problem, and had been a problem for all our history. Only recently humanity turned urban.

There is a point, two stronger partners would have more chances to survive - so it violates the theory

I am not in love with darwin, I hold no idols.

Jul 10, 2019
We have the means/environment to proof this: computers. We can make simple models, probably agent based ones, where we can see who is more likely to survive, the weaker partner that stays in the corner while the stronger partner fights the bear, or the couple with two equally stronger partners fighting the bear.

I would like to see you do a simulation that takes in all the aspects of human life from birth to death. That is way much more than single fight against a bear. No point simulating a one off event because evolution maximizes changes to survive and reproduce during a lifetime.

I can do a small simulation for you with my brain. Human with alligator skin, knife-hands and elephant strength would be good for fighting against a bear. Two humans like that even better. Yet, they would have great difficulties of surviving normal life.

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
If they are bi, then what is the opposite sex? /sarc


It is not about bisexual, it is about doing two sports where men and women are competing, and the men were considered attractive while women were not.

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
The theory of evolution by natural selection was not designed to explain the harmony of a human couple. It was created to explain structural variation in species. And the effects of predators was and still is very important, because predators can kill and eliminate survival and reproduction. Humans had been living in environments where having half of the team with less physical power can be very costly. It is very simple.

Jul 10, 2019
Animals were not the problem lol.... animals still are the problem, and had been a problem for all our history. Only recently humanity turned urban.

There is a point, two stronger partners would have more chances to survive - so it violates the theory

Animals are still the problem? Please explain how wild animals still endanger us?

I think that for at least past 100 000 years humans have killed more humans than all animals combined. So I don't know how the animals are so problematic. Maybe because they still exist?

There is a point like I explained you. You clearly don't just get the point. It also common in gorillas and apes that only the males wage war. I don't know how that can be so difficult for you to understand.

I just love science and logic. I would be saying this to you even if you were Darwin's relative.


Jul 10, 2019
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/23/health/snakebite-hidden-health-crisis-who-intl/index.html

no time for this

https://www.quora...t-number

no time for this

mqr
Jul 10, 2019
not sure if you know this.... but there are women in many armies in the world, e.g., Israel, USA, Germany, and they fight

someone saying that animals do not predate on humans. lol freaking idiot, I bet she did not read the cnn link that I posted lol

Jul 10, 2019
not sure if you know this.... but there are women in many armies in the world, e.g., Israel, USA, Germany, and they fight

someone saying that animals do not predate on humans. lol freaking idiot, I bet she did not read the cnn link that I posted lol

Not sure if you know this.... but there are many women muscular and larger than men.

It's not about do they predate or not, it's about do they predate so much that evolution needs to compensate it. Who cares if a snake bites you possibly once in a lifetime if possibility of getting murdered 100 times larger.

Jul 10, 2019
"Attractive"-ness of a passport photo does not mean more fit to provide.
It means "pretty". Appealing to the eye.
Kinda like more coloration of a male bird...
Women see pretty, men see usefulness...

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