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Male sex appeal lies in face shape


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Have your say: What do you think is the secret of male sex appeal?


Forget twinkling eyes, a nice smile or expensive aftershave. It seems the secret of male sex appeal may come down to a simple calculation.

According to palaeontologists, the dimensions of the region between the mouth and the eyebrows are crucial in determining how attractive a man's face appears to the opposite sex.

Research carried out at the Natural History Museum found that, at puberty, the height of the upper face - the area between the lip and the brow - develops differently in men and women. Men have evolved short faces between the brow and upper lip, which makes their jaws appear larger, their cheeks more flared, and their eyebrows more pronounced.

Unlike other facial features, however, the difference "in upper facial height" cannot be explained in terms of men being bigger than women. Researchers believe men have evolved the features because they appear more masculine.

Dr Eleanor Weston, a palaeontologist from the museum, examined 68 male and 53 female skulls from the University of Witwaterstrand in South Africa.

She said: "We divided the distance between the brow and upper lip, by the width of the face. The lower the result, the more masculine the appearance of the face.

"It is difficult to explain why men have evolved shorter, broader faces, if it is not because women find them more attractive."

As the male face has become shorter and broader, the canine teeth have shrunk, so men look less threatening and more attractive to mates.

Miss Weston said further research was needed but added that in initial tests using photographs of male celebrities, the actor Will Smith came top of the masculinity list.

The top 10 masculine men, according to the calculation, were:

1 Will Smith

2 Peter Andre

3 Justin Timberlake

4 Big Brother's Liam

5 Thierry Henry

6 Brad Pitt

7 David Beckham

8 Johnny Depp

9 Kanye West

10 Big Brother's Ziggy


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