Term of Award

Spring 1994

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Denson Kelly McLain

Committee Member 1

Michael P. Moulton

Committee Member 2

Ann E. Pratt

Abstract

Men are unsure of paternity because fertilization is internal. Because there is a lack of paternal assurance, mothers may be selected to increase paternity in order to assure that the father will invest in the child. One way that the mother could increase this assurance is to declare, at the birth of the child, that the baby resembles the father. Over a period of six months, 187 mothers were interviewed and were asked whom their babies most resembled. It was found that mothers remarked resemblance to the father more often than expected by chance. It was also found that fathers do not ascribe resemblance to one parent more than the other.

Selected pictures of these same mothers, fathers, and babies were also analyzed by unrelated volunteers in the form of a survey. These volunteers were asked to match a baby to its correct mother and father. The results of this study indicated that males and females are equally able to match babies to the correct parents. It was shown that babies can be matched to parents more often than due to chance. It was also shown that babies are not matched with fathers more easily than with mothers.

Considering both the interview and survey results, it was shown that resemblance assessment of mothers is not associated with actual resemblance. I suggest that mothers do ascribe resemblance to fathers more often than due to chance in order to increase paternal assurance.

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