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Sex and asymmetry in humans: what is the role of developmental instability?

Stefan Van Dongen, R Cornille and Luc Lens UGent (2009) JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. 22(3). p.612-622
abstract
Because asymmetric individuals are less attractive and may suffer from reduced fitness, bilateral asymmetry is widely believed to affect human sexual selection. Its evolutionary significance is based on the presumed relationship with developmental instability (DI). Yet, relationships between DI and bilateral asymmetry are often weak and possibly confounded by asymmetric mechanical loadings because of handedness. We related asymmetry in hands and faces to degrees of handedness and sexual behaviour in 100 humans. Handedness correlated to levels of asymmetry, thereby likely invalidating the use of asymmetry to estimate DI. For facial asymmetry, applying existing theoretical models refuted a link between asymmetry and DI. Explicit statistical modelling at the level of DI confirmed the absence of a link between DI and aspects of sexual behaviour. Nevertheless, asymmetries in both hands and face correlated significantly with sexual behaviour. We conclude that bilateral asymmetry per se, rather than its presumed link with DI, more likely relates to measures of human sexual behaviour. Because lateralization of behaviour appears widespread, evaluating the role of DI in evolution and ecology relies on a very critical selection of traits whose asymmetry can reliably reflect DI.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
journal title
JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY
J. Evol. Biol.
volume
22
issue
3
pages
612 - 622
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000263520900017
JCR category
ECOLOGY
JCR impact factor
3.816 (2009)
JCR rank
23/127 (2009)
JCR quartile
1 (2009)
ISSN
1010-061X
DOI
10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01667.x
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
id
882338
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-882338
date created
2010-02-25 16:02:13
date last changed
2010-03-05 15:24:56
@article{882338,
  abstract     = {Because asymmetric individuals are less attractive and may suffer from reduced fitness, bilateral asymmetry is widely believed to affect human sexual selection. Its evolutionary significance is based on the presumed relationship with developmental instability (DI). Yet, relationships between DI and bilateral asymmetry are often weak and possibly confounded by asymmetric mechanical loadings because of handedness. We related asymmetry in hands and faces to degrees of handedness and sexual behaviour in 100 humans. Handedness correlated to levels of asymmetry, thereby likely invalidating the use of asymmetry to estimate DI. For facial asymmetry, applying existing theoretical models refuted a link between asymmetry and DI. Explicit statistical modelling at the level of DI confirmed the absence of a link between DI and aspects of sexual behaviour. Nevertheless, asymmetries in both hands and face correlated significantly with sexual behaviour. We conclude that bilateral asymmetry per se, rather than its presumed link with DI, more likely relates to measures of human sexual behaviour. Because lateralization of behaviour appears widespread, evaluating the role of DI in evolution and ecology relies on a very critical selection of traits whose asymmetry can reliably reflect DI.},
  author       = {Van Dongen, Stefan and Cornille, R and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {1010-061X},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {612--622},
  title        = {Sex and asymmetry in humans: what is the role of developmental instability?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01667.x},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2009},
}

Chicago
Van Dongen, Stefan, R Cornille, and Luc Lens. 2009. “Sex and Asymmetry in Humans: What Is the Role of Developmental Instability?” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22 (3): 612–622.
APA
Van Dongen, Stefan, Cornille, R., & Lens, L. (2009). Sex and asymmetry in humans: what is the role of developmental instability? JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, 22(3), 612–622.
Vancouver
1.
Van Dongen S, Cornille R, Lens L. Sex and asymmetry in humans: what is the role of developmental instability? JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY. 2009;22(3):612–22.
MLA
Van Dongen, Stefan, R Cornille, and Luc Lens. “Sex and Asymmetry in Humans: What Is the Role of Developmental Instability?” JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 22.3 (2009): 612–622. Print.