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Navel gazing

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Author Topic: Navel gazing  (Read 49 times)
Posts: 19338

« on: January 31, 2009, 08:02:17 am »

Navel-gazing may serve a useful purpose, after all. People may use belly button beauty to assess the fitness of a potential mate, according to Aki Sinkkonen of the University of Helsinki, Finland.

"I was younger than nowadays, and some of my friends were discussing how some women have a beautiful umbilicus or navel," Sinkkonen told Discovery News. "I was thinking, 'How is this possible? If this is scar tissue, how is it possible that it can be beautiful?"

Indeed, the navel is often cited as a textbook example of a useless body part. But Sinkkonen, who published his idea recently in the FASEB Journal, said there is plenty of evidence that there is more to it than that.

For instance, in many mammals, the navel forms a tiny, asymmetrical scar. But in humans, it is a visible and significant mark. Many cultures draw attention to it in art, Sinkkonen noted, and some wealthy people pay plenty to have their navel's appearance enhanced.

Sinkkonen pointed out a study by Charles Puckett and colleagues of the University of Misouri, which asked people to choose from a number of navels the one that was most attractive. The subjects agreed: the best-looking navels were vertically oriented with a T-shape.

Those with particularly large belly buttons, or with any sort of protrusions -- sorry, outies -- or distortions, received lower scores.

The fact that there is consensus about which navels are most attractive supports the idea that there's an advantage to finding a certain type of navel attractive, Sinkkonen said.
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Laughter is the best medicine, unless you've got a really nasty case of syphilis, in which case penicillin is your best bet.

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