Speedier cyclists are better looking?

Podium

Speedy lads

Speedier cyclists are better looking. FACT (BBC article here). Darwinian processes have facilitated this and some very bright people in white coats have agreed on it as a plausible hypothesis and published it in the Royal Society journal. Forming the basis for this study was the mugshots of  80 finishers in the 2012 Tour De France. Good science demands critique and skeptical thinking, so Let’s look at that a titchy bit closer;  a sample size of 80 (a whole 80) famous cyclists out of……err…….an awful lot of cyclists/endurance types, suggests what underlies the basis for sexual selection; there’s something in the jutting jawline of a speedy peloton rider that is inherently more attractive to members of the opposite sex.

Hmmm. Interesting stuff. Especially the upshot of the research which is apparently, ‘within this preselected but relatively homogeneous sample of the male population, facial attractiveness signals endurance performance.’ From which  the gargantuan leap is made to ‘Provided that there is a relationship between performance-mediated attractiveness and reproductive success, this suggests that human endurance capacity has been subject to sexual selection in our evolutionary past’.

Whoa.

Well…..it’s an interesting thought. However, I feel that its more likely that in our evolutionary past, the ability to survive (this being dead handy if you ignore the pun), wield a club, work out how to take down a mastodon with a stick and fashion an impromptu BBQ out of a couple of twigs and a pile of bark – and most likely a combination of all of those – would be equally attractive to potential mates. These days, I suspect for some, success is an aphrodisiac – success being subjective and could include intelligence, wit, fame or cash –  irrespective of ability to accumulate points during hill climbs or donning a polkodot jersey.

mastodon

Mastodon – pre-historic lunch.

Don’t ask me though. I’m constantly goaded by an academic friend of mine, that I’m a social scientist by training/at heart and by extension; not a proper thinker.

This article has absolutely nothing to do with me being slower than a snail with a foot injury and/or rampant, uncontrollable envy.

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