sman Posted August 14, 2012 Report Share Posted August 14, 2012 At first the solution seems obvious: Babies are cute so that adults will nurture them (at their own expense). Further, wherever babies are being born at a rate such that not all of them can survive infancy - a ubiquitous feature among all evolved life - there should arise some kind of judgment call about which one to nurture above others, powering selection for cuteness in infants analogous to sexual selection. Now, the lesson of sexual selection is like this: Pea-hens prefer mates with large, flamboyant tails which confers a non-random reproductive success for pea-cocks with that feature, causing genes for growing that feature to accumulate in the pool, but - at the same time - pea-hen preference for large, flamboyant tails is, itself, being selected for, causing genes for growing that feature - preference for large tails - to accumulate in the gene pool....which is fed back into the loop creating a non-linear function of the thing that is - at least for me - not at all as “easy to see” as R.A. Fisher described it. So, with that in mind, are adults being selected for their preference for cuteness at the same time as babies are being selected for cuteness? And if so, why is it as it is instead of any number of other morphological configurations that would play on our psychology just as well? Say, protruding muzzles & augmented inter-ocular displacement? In the case of pea-cocks & pea-hens the function may be grounded in fitness: The burden of a large tail is an unfakeable display of the fitness of the rest of the body, which must drag that thing around as well as survive & compete. On that model, does cuteness, the way we see it & subjectively define it today, contribute to fitness in a way that simply eludes me? Or is it just a random walk? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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