Your chin shape may not make or break you in the sexual arena, according to new research that finds there is no universal "sexy" chin.
That's right: Superman's strong cleft-chin look may not be considered hot by all, according to a paper published April 3 in the journal PLOS ONE. Why does anyone care? Some scientists have proposed that certain faces are universally attractive, because they signal high-quality mates. Broad male chins and narrow female chins have been theorized to be examples of these universal sexy signals. If chins are a sign of a healthy mate, shapes shouldn't differ much around the globe, researchers figured — everyone would favor the same sort of chin, and natural selection would lead to most people sporting that shape. But an examination of 180 male and female chin bones from around the world found wide variation in shape, a blow to the idea of the universally appealing chin. Even if humans do have preferences for the ideal chin, the authors concluded, these preferences could be cultural, regional, or simply not strong enough to influence reproduction. Phew. Now we can all go back to worrying about the dimensions of other body parts.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.