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Survival of the Tattooed and Pierced?: Scientific American

May 7

Among the research subjects, men with bodily decorations exhibited greater symmetry than those without, whereas no differences emerged in women. Because people who are less symmetric did not opt more often for tattoos and piercings, researchers rejected one widely held hypothesis that suggested people use physical graffiti to hide or distract from imperfections in their appearance.

The results jibe with a different theory—getting stuck with needles can endanger one’s health via infections, so the study supports the evolutionary “handicap” theory that only those with high biological quality can afford such risky behavior. The im pulse to get inked may be a risk-taking behavior inherited from ancestors who were strong enough to endure injuries and survive—as opposed to those whose ancestors survived by avoiding risk and injury. Therefore, at least in men, body art could serve as an “honest” signal of fitness in the Darwinian sense. So maybe that’s why pierced, tattooed rock stars do so well with the ladies.

via Survival of the Tattooed and Pierced?: Scientific American.

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