August 19, 2019

Do Newborns Always Look Like the Father?

“I was shocked to see my daughter when I gave birth. The whole pregnancy, my doctor had said she was going to be small, like me, and I was picturing someone who, well, looked like me. But this large, pale child emerged, with a decidedly different nose and head. If she hadn’t looked just like my husband, I would have doubted she was mine.

As time went on, their likeness grew even more pronounced. “She looks just like her dad,” everyone said, while I grimaced. But then I started noticing that all my friends’ kids looked like their fathers. And both my mother and mother-in-law thought their children looked only like their fathers. “Just a carrier” is how my mother-in-law described herself. “Strangest thing,” my mom said, “to have a baby who looks nothing like you.”

That children look more like their fathers is a common idea. In 1995, two researchers set out to determine whether it was, in fact, true. Neutral judges were shown black-and-white pictures of 1-year-old children’s faces and asked which of three given adults the kids most resembled (either three men or three women, one of whom was always the biological parent). The children were determined to look most similar to their biological fathers.”

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