There is a day in everyone's childhood when they first learn what "natural selection" is, and then there is another day a few years after that when they see it in action, as all of the pretty girls gather around the virile star quarterback and spit on the chubby kids when they walk by. It's easy to spend the rest of your life thinking that your bad luck with the ladies is just evolution trying to filter your weird face and frail physique out of the gene pool.
But that's not entirely true; a lot of what keeps the bouncers from letting you into the best clubs also gives you some important advantages. For instance ...
5Tall People Make Good Models, but Short People Live Longer
Let's face it: People don't usually consider "short" to be a synonym for "sexy" -- there's a reason Tom Cruise has made a career of hiding the fact that he's only 5'7". But there is one benefit of being short, and it's not that you can be smuggled in a suitcase: Taller people are destined to die sooner than their stumpy-legged peers.
Manute Bol: Dead. Muggsy Bogues: Alive. But still can't ride a roller coaster.
In fact, researchers have found a multitude of studies showing that shorter people generally live longer than taller people, and this isn't just some random coincidence that scientists are confusing with a real pattern -- they base these findings on studies that have been done all over the world. For example, the longest-living people are from Okinawa, Japan, and the average height of their elderly is a mere 4'9". They've also found that taller people contract heart disease and cancer more easily, while in shorter cultures, such as some African tribes, these diseases are virtually nonexistent.
"Hold on, smart guy," you may be thinking, "If this is true, then why do scientists say that we're getting taller on average, as well as living longer?" Well, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that our knowledge of medicine is much better than it used to be. While taller people are generally more sickly, we have the medical expertise to kind of keep up with it.
"Damn, our deductible's going to go up again, isn't it?"
How are we so sure? Because coronary heart disease was rarer than a healthy meal at Taco Bell back before the 20th century, during a time when people were on average 4 inches shorter than today. And in countries whose populations have only recently increased in height, such as Singapore and India? Yep -- CHD is more prevalent.
And this isn't just Mother Nature being racist -- there have also been studies that very obviously point out the connection between height and longevity, all within the same peoples, and even the same profession. Look at the charts yourself:
The first chart shows baseball players of the 20th century, while the second chart shows the average Frenchman in the 19th century. The pattern? Shorties live longer lives.
So what are the biological reasons as to why this occurs? Other than the fact that it's probably much easier to get your head caught in ceiling fans, scientists speculate that, since taller people have more cells in their bodies, they are more exposed to carcinogens, and so are more at risk of developing cancer. And how much is this risk, exactly? Researchers have found that for women, every extra 4 inches of height you have over 5 feet is another 16 percent chance of developing cancer. That's right -- you're more likely to get sick simply because there is more of you. It sounds like cartoon logic, but it also appears to be true.
This guy should be getting, like, hourly MRIs.
4Ugly Men Are More Fertile
So you rolled a less than average score in the genetic lottery. You've probably had to spend your whole life watching jealously while better-looking dudes blazed through entire cheerleading squads. Well, there may be some small consolation in the fact that Johnny Adonis over there might be shooting blanks. Studies have shown that there's a connection between how attractive you are and your sperm count, and it's not the one you think: Unattractive males are just more fertile.
You might think that this makes the opposite of evolutionary sense, but evolution knows what it's doing, which is why you're not in charge of it.
Think about it: Nature already assumes that attractive guys are getting more action, but that doesn't mean they're able to produce sperm faster than anyone else, so biology forces them to conserve their ammunition. If you're unattractive, on the other hand, your junk knows that each time it comes into contact with lady parts might be the last, so it gives it everything it's got.
In the interest of full disclosure, the above studies were conducted on animals, not people. But that doesn't mean that nobody has gone ahead to see if it applies to human beings as well. When scientists tried to find the closest thing they could to an objective measure of male attractiveness, they found that guys with deeper voices tend to be more attractive to women. We assume that the first thing they did with this information was try to invent some kind of voice-deepening drug for their own use, but the second thing they did was test their sperm count ... and yes, the Justin Biebers were packing more heat than the James Earl Joneses.
"Technically, some guy in Coruscant is your father. But I paid our bill at the fertility clinic."