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How do extremely attractive individuals come from mediocre, if not ugly, parents?


CityandLights
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This question has been on my mind for years, and it's driving me nearly insane. Even if I get the answer, like, "Oh, it's just probability," I still would like a more in depth answer--how?

 

For example, my family has some neighbors named Family A. In family A, the mother is alright-looking, while the father isn't that great looking, but he's a smart guy. The first son of theirs is fairly good-looking, but probably has Asperger's, got a perfect score on the SAT, etc. (He's the only on that actually looks like his parents).The first daughter looks like a downright model, with blonde hair and perfect skin. The second son just blows my mind. He is well over 6'4", Adonis-like, THICK curly-brown hair, not that half-curled bird's nest kind of curls, this boy has hair like you've never seen. Think an African American afro, but with caucasian, brown locks rather than tight, sponge-like material. Despite his size and height, he has a baby face, with big, hooded green eyes, a great smile with small, symmetrical white teeth, and bronze skin. If you gave him the up-down, not only does he have height, but his muscles are defined like a super hero. His legs aren't scrawny, they're thick and filled-out like a model. And his backside? Perfectly shaped, almost like he has the shoulder-wedge of a man but the backside of a female.

 

In family B, the parents are a bit larger, not ugly, but not great looking, either. Though, they have very distinct features. The 6'4" dad has ice-blue, hooded eyes and tan skin, while the mom has strikingly black hair and pale white skin, and both have normal voices. The daughter in family B, however, looks NOTHING like them, with the exception of her father's breath-taking ice-blue eyes. Her face looks like it was perfectly carved by a higher deity, with a straight nose so thinly defined in detail you would think she had plastic surgery (she hasn't). Not only that, but she has a perfect figure, although a bit on the bigger side--but this girl's sexier than a skinny model because she has curves. She's gorgeous. On top of that, she has a voice like I've never heard--a voice that you'd think was fake because, normally, you would only hear it in a porn video--the kind of sexy musicality that is very rare in real life. This girl also got a perfect score on the SAT, I guess I should mention both families are upper-class and intelligent, also.

 

How are gorgeous children born from normal parents? What gives?

 

(I am not a pedophile, these "children" are actually my age. I'm 19.)

Edited by CityandLights
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Has it seriously not occurred to you that the parents might have been more attractive when they were younger? And that the difference if because you're comparing the young to the old?

 

Don't tell me you haven't ever seen this phenomenon.

 

Considering the fact that I've seen pictures of the parents when they were younger, I'd say they weren't as attractive as their children, at all.

 

In Family A, one child actually resembles them. The others? Not so much. Plus, it's not like their parents are that old. If anything, their parents have aged less than the average person their age. A hint of good genes, I guess.

 

I suppose what I'm asking is, what predetermines good looks? Conception? The quality of cellular cleavage in formation? The genes that predetermine what you'll look like after puberty?

 

Again, what gives? I still have yet to get an attempt to answer "how."

 

I.e., how does a model like Angelina Jolie come from Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand? ...Genetic accident?

Edited by CityandLights
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Why is "just probability" not an acceptable answer? You understand why children are not identical copies of one of their parents, right? So you already have "different looking." Why would it be surprising that you don't find parent and child to be exactly as attractive as one another?

 

Some other things to consider:

-Attractiveness is not especially quantifiable or objective. Eye of the beholder, etc.

-Maybe they just take more care to make themselves attractive.

-Why focus on attractiveness (to you)? Pick any quality at all. Children can be outside the range of their parents. (If they weren't, the entire population would quickly tend towards equality in all things.)

-You get half your father's genes, and half your mother's genes. Maybe you get sexier (to you) half of each. Maybe the half you get from each parent combines more sexily (to you) with each other than each does with that parent's other half.

Edited by Sisyphus
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I'll add photos in the name of science, because among the vastness of the internet, I feel that anonymity is still more than enough to protect privacy. If it becomes a problem, I'll take them down.

 

Yes, attractive is relative to individuals, but I feel that there are just some universal traits of attractiveness that you can not deny.

 

This is the curly-haired boy from family A.

clark34.jpg

clark3.jpg

^ His sister is on the left, his dad is on the right.

clark2.jpg

^His mom is on the right.

clark12.jpg

 

Probability is a fine answer. I guess I want more details. I know the genes recombine, with the genes of both sets of the grandparents remixing rather than the parents genes, I'm just always in awe when it produces the "most" (relative term, I know) attractive or intelligent outcomes.

 

I'm a physically average individual from physically average parents, so I suppose I'm just jealous that I'm not as "lucky" as the model-esque humans out there. Most of the great looking people I know at least have one parent that looks like a model, too, but I guess not everyone. I mean, look at Johnny Depp's parents. Average folks, but their genes recombined in just the right way to produce a man who is perceived to be one of the most attractive in the world.

 

Is it the genes just mixing in the perfect combination for what I perceive to be the most attractive outcome, one of the rarest probabilities? Or are their deeply recessive, hidden genes lying dormant within almost all of us for super attractive children? Or both?

 

I guess there's hope for my children? Laughing... I should just be thankful nature had mercy, and I'm lucky to not have any life threatening diseases or disfigurations of all that sort.

 

Not sure what's up with all of the misology on this forum, either. It's like you guys are afraid to delve deeper. Entertain the game while it's going, yeah? Unless it's no deeper than just "probability." That's like saying it's just God. There's a method to the madness. I'd like to map it out... What genes determine symmetry? Baby eyes? A musical voice? Tan skin? Adonis-like, bronze curly hair? Crystal blue eyes? I would love to do research on this one day.

 

Or better yet, even if differentiation is normal, why isn't everyone perfectly symmetrical? Mutation? Flawed formation in utero?

 

We're going to be engineering our babies one day, anyway...

Edited by CityandLights
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"Attractive" is simply too subjective a term to have any real meaning scientifically. What kinds of traits do you think are universally attractive?

 

You might list them (let's imagine there are 10 of them) but if someone has only 2 from the list, I don't think that will necessarily make them less attractive to the population as a whole than someone who has 6. I think there is a lot more to "attractiveness" than physical features.

Edited by Phi for All
Correction: "more" to "less" attractive
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I have to point out that it's worth noting "Attractive" is somewhat subjective.

 

First off, it can be totally different in different societies - what's considered attractive in eastern Europe is not necessarily what is attractive in the United States, or Africa, or Japan or China.

 

Second, "Attractive" is not just how you look, it's how you present yourself. Have you never seen "Ugly Betty"? ;) seriously, though, it's very likely that those "ugly parents" produced offspring that had marginal difference in facial features that slightly improved the looks (since children don't look *the same* as their parents, ever, they just look similar) and the children carry themselves better and look more attractive.

 

 

~moo

 

 

p.s: I actually started writing this post, ran off to a short meeting, and came back. Phi - brilliant minds, eh?

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Second, "Attractive" is not just how you look, it's how you present yourself. Have you never seen "Ugly Betty"?
Ooh, that's a great example. The Pygmalion process has been glorified in many films. We see a drab person transformed by an extreme makeover that makes them more attractive. The lesson we learn, however, is that it's the confidence bestowed by an elevated expectation level that truly makes this person beautiful, not the shallower physical aesthetics.

 

 

 

 

 

Phi - brilliant minds, eh?
True dat, moo.
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There are certain metrics that one could use, including facial symmetry. Nonetheless the OP is too vague and anecdotal in nature. Thus I elaborate on Sh3erlock's answer and propose that Zeus decided to have a go as mailman this time.

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I would go with the answer that almost never fails "Random Chance" With a side of selective variables. Random chance Gives way to the possibility that your DNA is manufactured in such a way that makes you, you. You are you though a series of factors that are determined by your ancestors.

Your society and the way you perceive the world and the people in it are your selective variables. You perceive Beauty by what society tells your is beautiful/attractive and what in your mind is perceived to be beautiful/attractive. Your mind then Triggers chemical reactions that combine with other chemicals to tell your brain what it is seeing. Once this happens your brain then has to make the distinction of weather the physical cues meet the criteria of beauty/attractiveness.

 

Someone could also be beautify (by social standard) and not even know it (Hidden beauty). Lets say for example, If someone were to Change the color or style of ones hair then they could be perceived as more beautiful then they originally were without changing their physical appearance. Thus it can also be a factor of the individual and their willingness to conform to what society tells them is beautiful/attractive.

 

So in my view it's a combination of Random and Nonrandom Factors that determine the attractiveness of a person with whom have two average/ugly/mediocre parents.

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So far, the most popular theories are random chance and the mailman.

 

I would go with the mailman theory if it weren't for the fact that his nose and mouth resemble his father's.

 

They may not be mindblowingly attractive in terms of looking absolutely perfect, but compared to the range of ugly that falls into genetic diversity, I'd say the kids are pretty good looking.

 

I have yet to see another person with hair like the boys, though. I just don't see where it comes from, considering no one else in his family has hair like that. I can't even think of any Caucasian models with hair like that.

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So far, the most popular theories are random chance and the mailman.

 

I would go with the mailman theory if it weren't for the fact that his nose and mouth resemble his father's.

 

They may not be mindblowingly attractive in terms of looking absolutely perfect, but compared to the range of ugly that falls into genetic diversity, I'd say the kids are pretty good looking.

 

I have yet to see another person with hair like the boys, though. I just don't see where it comes from, considering no one else in his family has hair like that. I can't even think of any Caucasian models with hair like that.

 

 

I don't understand your obsession with this point, it seem quite ordinary to me. All kidding about the mailman aside, I don't think you are giving the parents enough credit for one thing. Not that I find these people as outstanding as you apparently do (they look quite normal to me; I wouldn't give them a second look if I walked by them on the street).

 

Take the dad. He isn't much shorter than the son, maybe an inch or two, and if he were to loose 20-30 lbs and lift some weights he would look very much like his son. I'm about the same height taller than my dad. Don't forget that diet plays a part in physical attributes, maybe the parents have made sure to feed their children properly.

 

Regarding the hair, I notice the dad doesn't have it...so maybe when the dad was 19, he had the same curly hair? Or maybe the mother has curly hair, but straighens it with a flat iron? Or perhaps he gets a perm instead?

 

Regarding "intelligence"; yes there is a genetic part. But environment also shapes general intelligence - again how about considering the effect of proper parenting?

 

It isn't all genetics. People are not simply the sum of their DNA.

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So far, the most popular theories are random chance and the mailman.

No.... those are only the theories *you* find popular. There were quie a few other explanations given.

 

The least of which is that many of us actually *don't* find these people in that picture a symbol of "attractiveness" nor do any of us find the parents a symbol of "ugliness".

 

To be perfectly honest, they all look quite average to me - parents and kids alike.

 

They may not be mindblowingly attractive in terms of looking absolutely perfect, but compared to the range of ugly that falls into genetic diversity, I'd say the kids are pretty good looking.

Myabe. But so do their parents. I see no significant difference. And I'm not the only one. Also, read what Phi and I wrote about the psychology of 'attractiveness' and the points about relatively small improvements in the visible parts (for instnace, a slightly smaller nose) making a HUGE difference visually.

 

I have yet to see another person with hair like the boys, though. I just don't see where it comes from, considering no one else in his family has hair like that. I can't even think of any Caucasian models with hair like that.

 

Also, you might want to check up a bit on the concept of 'recessive' genes. People don't get traits *JUST* from their parents.

 

 

~moo

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So to summarize, the more interesting question is not "why are these people so attractive," since the consensus of the SFN Anonymous Superficial Judgment Committee (all decisions binding) is that they aren't especially attractive. Kind of goofy looking, even. Rather, it's "why is the OP so attracted to these particular people, and obsessed with this particular question?"

 

As far as that goes, I really couldn't say. Supposedly one's own body chemistry (result of genes) both influences appearance, and heavily influences what one finds attractive in others, so maybe your hormones are trying to tell you that your particular genes combined with their particular genes are more likely to produce successful offspring. Or something. I really don't know much about it, or even whether that kind of thing has any validity.

 

As for why this particular question holds such fascination, I won't even begin to speculate.

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To offer an explanation of why the OP seems to find them much more attractive than the average SFN consensus, it's probably because s/he likes them as people. The boy, in particular, since the OP paid so much attention to the details of his appearance, I would even say there is some emotional attraction to as well, on the level of 'a crush'. This would bias one's perception easily. People find people they like more attractive on average than people whom they do not. (I have no source for this, I apologize, but I have read it.)

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To offer an explanation of why the OP seems to find them much more attractive than the average SFN consensus, it's probably because s/he likes them as people. The boy, in particular, since the OP paid so much attention to the details of his appearance, I would even say there is some emotional attraction to as well, on the level of 'a crush'. This would bias one's perception easily. People find people they like more attractive on average than people whom they do not. (I have no source for this, I apologize, but I have read it.)

 

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070328073301.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1690211/

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:-1e2Hg6uOGUJ:www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP06134146.pdf+genes+for+attractiveness&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiqJ9XyU1HQ1umiqL0OJTSz1pWVzHBMicHdUSV6cA8bh-b0UR24FkULJnXPrN8nMXEAXWvU9HuBIj5wDwoNr_cozJD7TIBOcLNfEflwMVNyGzI7se_Nvv0oKsbZUFk0aMHnM8hi&sig=AHIEtbR8c_s5El4RD1NAxob9LZSuBYoFBg

 

Good call, Kyrisch. I'm female, and I do have a crush on him, along with the girl I mentioned. Bisexuality? Who knows. I grew up with both of them, and perhaps I have nostalgic attachments.

 

Though, I wouldn't think twice about hooking up with either of them if I had the opportunity.

 

There's another mystery for you biologists: bisexuality and homosexuality. My theory about that is it's simply genetic baggage, once sexuality itself got introduced to the evolution process, the domains weren't exactly thinly defined with a scalpel, if you have same-sex attractions they come along for the ride with your opposite-sex attractions (bisexuality), but homosexuality? Prenatal hormones can do that, too, I suppose. Little to no attraction to the opposite-sex >> prenatal hormones.

 

Though, attractiveness tends to be correlated to health, according to an article above. Maybe these individuals just appear very healthy to me? Or like someone said, maybe my body is trying to tell me that my genes would mix well and produce healthy offspring with their genes?

 

Here's another attractive fellow (red sweatshirt):

clynton3.jpg

Now here's him and his sister:

clynton2.jpg

I suppose that's what he'd look like as a female with some variation? Would she be "less" healthy than her brother?

http://www.metroactive.com/metro/11.08.06/work-0645.html

 

I asked him what his parents looked like, and he said they were much, much shorter than him (he's 6'2"-6'4"). Recessive genes at work, I guess, going against the regression towards the mean.

 

Here's a beautiful woman I had as a Chemistry lab professor:

irina16.jpg

 

We don't all have daughters, sisters, or mothers that look like this because... They're less healthy and/or they didn't inherit the same phenotypic permutation of the same genes in our species.

 

She resembles her mother, except she's taller and more voluptuous (perhaps got the traits from her father's X chromosome?) Her sister just looks like a random blond girl without too much resemblance to her.

 

I wish I looked like that, and that's all I'll say about her.

 

And, to add to my point that some traits of perceived attractiveness are universal, if you put the guy in drag and died his hair blonde, he might distantly resemble my bombtastic Chemistry professor. Maybe the genes for model-like attractiveness are primarily on the "X" chromosome, and only express themselves in males lucky enough to inherit an X-chromosome with those genes and females who express the chromosome with those genes rather than the other one.

Edited by CityandLights
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  • Read about recessive genes.
  • Read the other answers people made on the thread.
  • I actually disagree with the first picture. The guy you're showing us (specially in the second pic) rattles my gaydar.
  • The last black-and-white picture is not much of a proof either. My dad was a photographer - and not a bad one at all. If you know how to play with light/shadows and you take about 2000 pictures so you can choose the best *one*, you tend to get really really beautiful people.

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Are we discussing sexual selection or measurable features that are relevant to species propagation?

 

Average, Ugly, and attractive are all subjective. I honestly don't think they are relevant to how much DNA a human is able to supply the gene pool with.

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  • Read about recessive genes.
  • Read the other answers people made on the thread.
  • I actually disagree with the first picture. The guy you're showing us (specially in the second pic) rattles my gaydar.
  • The last black-and-white picture is not much of a proof either. My dad was a photographer - and not a bad one at all. If you know how to play with light/shadows and you take about 2000 pictures so you can choose the best *one*, you tend to get really really beautiful people.

 

Good call. The dude, when I met him, was utterly flaming. But why is that? Why is there such a strong stereotype of beautiful, if not womanly gorgeous, men being gay? Maybe there's proof of a "beauty" allele(s) that either men or women can inherit, which may also premeditate a sexual appetite for men.

 

I have read about recessive genes, and referenced it in my post. I've also read the other answers, but really, I think saying "sexiness is relative" or "how attractive one appears can be environmental" is just an excuse to not delve deeper into how we inherit genes that actually cause someone to be more physically attractive regardless of the environment, and inherit the kind of physical appeal that spans across cultures and is universal at the core. Basic example: facial symmetry. A sultry voice for guys (Think Brad Pitt). A fey voice for women (Think Madonna). A filled out body (rather than scrawny). Height (more subjective than the others, but society tends to like tall models). Prominent cheek bones. A strong, square jawline for men, and the coveted heart-shaped face for women with S-shaped jaw lines (Think Angelina Jolie).

 

Again, I'm going to ask readers to stop pulling the "subjective" card. It's been said already. I get it. But that still doesn't quench my curiosity for wanting to know what alleles carry the traits of what I perceive to be attractive. Read the paragraph above this again if you still don't get what I'm talking about. I don't care if you think Steve Baldwin or Steven Hawking are gorgeous, there are some traits that I would argue are universal signs of sexiness or health (thick hair, height).

 

I guess I'll stop being lazy and articulate what everyone on this forum tells me to read about.

 

Assuming there are certain alleles across the human genome, for what I perceive as physical beauty... for the sake of simplicity and basic understandability, I'll oversimplify this trait into one "beauty" allele called "b".

 

Mendel's first law of Genetics would imply that extraordinarily beautiful people inherit two recessive versions of b that in interact and produce the extraordinarily beautiful phenotype; or, there is one very rare dominant beauty allele ("B").

 

Let's say for the fellow, b contains height, a filled out body, tan-smooth skin, and thick hair texture.

 

His sister inherited Ab, a recessive b allele from the mother that was dominated from the paternal A allele. However, the boy lucked out and got bb, inheriting the b from his mother and not inheriting the A from the father (receiving the Y chromosome instead of the X, I suppose, thus forcing "b" to express itself as the only present allele, or inheriting another autosomal "b" if the allele is not on the X-chromosome).

 

Consequently, the boy's recessive b phenotype expresses itself as him being physically "beautiful."

 

For the girl, A overrides b, although the siblings have similar features otherwise.

 

That, or the boy inherited a very rare "B" allele from the mother, while the girl may or may not have, either way another allele(s) is/are overriding the traits of height and flawless skin here.

 

Assuming the allele wouldn't express itself differently in daughters, he would most likely have a chance of having gorgeous daughters. Though the genes would skip a generation for expression in males, so long that those daughters had sons.

 

Same thing with the blonde woman, except maybe an "m" allele for sexy traits for Marilyn Monroe reminiscent females rather than the "b" allele that makes the man beautiful. In females, I suppose she would have a chance of having both "fabulous" looking sons and daughters, assuming the genes didn't express themselves differently depending on the sex of the beholder, without the traits skipping a generation.

 

Need another picture? I met this woman in person... she was my teacher. Believe me, she's gorgeous in my opinion.

 

irina44.jpg

 

Are we discussing sexual selection or measurable features that are relevant to species propagation?

 

Average, Ugly, and attractive are all subjective. I honestly don't think they are relevant to how much DNA a human is able to supply the gene pool with.

 

We're discussing traits that would benefit a person if expressed phenotypically in sexual selection. I'm wondering if there's been any research on alleles that might be related to "beauty." I.e., what alleles give Halle Berry her notorious curves? What alleles give Angelina Jolie her lips? What alleles make for stunning, blue eyes? What alleles make for broad shoulders and height?

 

New question for the posters: If you could engineer your baby to be the most beautiful baby in the world, what genes on what alleles would you make express themselves in the baby's phenotype? Yes, beauty is subjective, but the alleles that carry traits that YOU consider to be beautiful still exist.

Edited by CityandLights
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