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Here's why mums claim their babies look like their dads

November 06, 2006 17:41 IST

New parents spend hours trying to see which one of them their bundle of joy takes after in his or her looks. Now, a team of researchers has found out why most mothers insist that their kid looks just like the father and not her.

Scholars at Sheffield University and Montpellier University in France, conducted a research to find out just why most mums insist that their kids take after their dad in looks, even though there may no parental similarities, and that for newborns, boys and girls actually resemble their mothers more.

They suggest that the reason why mums do so is due to a concerted, and most probably subconscious, effort by a mother to convince her partner that he really is the father.

The strategy, the researchers state, has been developed over time to allay a man's paternity fears, which, once allayed, not only make him more fatherly, but also more prepared to look after both infant and mother.

As a part of the research, the scholars studied 69 families with a total of 83 children up to the age of six, with parents being asked who their babies and children most resembled.

Pictures of the kids were then shown to 209 independent judges who were asked to study them for similarities to their parents.

The two sets of results were then compared. The researchers found that all the mothers said boys looked liked their dad, and 77 percent said girls looked like him, too.

They also noted that more than eight out of ten men also thought their kids, resemble them in looks.

When it came to the independent judges however, the results were very different, for they decided that half the babies took after the mother in looks, and that only one in three looked like the father, thus adding support to the theory.

"We found that mothers claim a paternal resemblance at birth that does not correspond to the actual resemblance, suggesting possible manipulation of the perception of facial resemblance to increase confidence of paternity," the Daily Mail quoted the authors, as stating.

The research is to be published in the journal, Evolution and Human Behaviour.

Source: ANI