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Nerd Spot

A shout out to the nerdy and proud.

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Location: Massachusetts, United States

Lifelong nerd, shameless Constitution-hugger, unreconstructed Democrat and thoroughgoing misanthrope

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye

Oh teeming underclass! You're breeding the qualities of us finer folk right out of existence! The Boston Globe reports that roughly "half of Americans born at the turn of the 20th century had blue eyes, according to a 2002 Loyola University study in Chicago. By mid-century that number had dropped to a third. Today only about one 1 of every 6 Americans has blue eyes, said Mark Grant, the epidemiologist who conducted the study." Alas, it appears that universal literacy and democratized higher education have ended the intraethnic gene pool as the perfectly good proxy for suitable mate selection that it has always been. So Grampy Geoghegan got the hots for Nonna Nobilini and next thing you know Mommy is a brown-eyed girl.

Don't worry, though. There's still hope that we truly finer folk are predisposed to find each other. The Arizona Republic has a story about Norwegian researchers who published a study in the rivetingly-titled journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology purporting to show that that blue eye color "can provide a highly visible and salient cue to the child's heredity"and therefore blue-eyed men prefer blue-eyed women over those with eyes of any other color.

If we remember our 8th grade science lessons, we know that blue eyes are a recessive trait. and brown eyes are a dominant one. You might have blue eyes, but if your spouse has brown, your baby could have brown eyes or blue eyes, depending on your spouse's genetic background. The only way you're guaranteed to have a blue-eyed baby is if both parents have blue eyes. The researchers reason that "if a child born to two blue-eyed parents does not have blue eyes, then the blue-eyed father is not the biological father." Basically, if a guy can (presumably unconsciously) choose a woman with characteristics that allow him to know whether he is the likely father of any offspring, blue-eyed men should prefer women with blue eyes. Other researchers point out the study leaves out many social factors such as learned dating behavior. Sounds like griping about their betters to me.

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