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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Man or Woman? The Shadow ... Doesn't Know
16 October 2012 7:20 pm
A waist that arcs in like an hourglass, hips that jut out underneath: It's the classic figure of a woman. But does the curviness of the real average woman (above, left) and average male (above, right) match up with the images in people's minds? Not according to a new study, which finds that people frequently misjudge female silhouettes as male, while they rarely make the reverse mistake. Scientists analyzed measurements of almost 5000 Army recruits and determined that the boundary between the two sexes' body shapes falls at a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.8049: Most males have a higher WHR and most women a lower WHR. But when 53 undergraduate students were asked to characterize a range of silhouettes, their guesses changed from female to male at a WHR of 0.68, lower than both the average female's WHR (0.71), and the lowest WHR seen among any male Army recruits (0.74). The average WHR that the students guessed as female was so extreme that it was never seen among real women, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The effect may be a consequence of a "better safe than sorry" approach to protect humans throughout evolution from misjudging faraway males, who historically were more likely to take aggressive action than females.
See more ScienceShots.