Why human babies are so cute

Why are human babies so adorable?

Every wondered what makes human babies so cute. How come everyone finds them so adorable and irresistible?

Well, it turns out that human babies are not objectively cute per se but we have evolved to find them cute. It is not the babies that we are attracted to but a set of 'baby characteristics' like small curvy body, large eyes, short thick limbs, disproportionately large head, face with lots of fat etc. This is the reason why we find other baby animals adorable as well which display the above characteristics. For that matter, even objects that are designed with the above characteristics will look cute (a cartoon-ish hammer, for example).

If the human babies looked any different, say with a horn on their head, we would have evolved to think a horn on a head is cute.  



You might be wondering why we have evolved this way. Well, from an evolutionary standpoint it is important for a species to like their babies so they take good care of the baby and increase its survival chances and hence pass on their genes. Lets say the stone age man did not find his babies cute, he would have just eaten the babies as soon as they were born! This is even more important for creatures like humans for whom raising a baby is an expensive process because human babies are not fully developed when they are born. Its their cuteness that bonds us to them and makes us go through years of feeding and caring without complaining. 

Now you might be asking why are we not wired to just find our own baby cute. Why did we evolve to find anything and everything with these characteristics cute? This is because there is an evolutionary advantage for a social animal like humans to find not just its babies but other's babies adorable as well. As a society it helps if you can trust someone to babysit your baby while you go out hunting or doing something else. It relieves you from the burden of caring for your baby if you can trust that the other person is not going to hurt your baby and thus humans being extremely social animals have evolved to find anything with the above characteristics cute which in turn helped them love other's babies and grow as a society.

Moreover, this behavior is not just limited to humans but many animals find their babies and other species babies cute and usually do not harm them. You might have heard stories of a monkey caring for a tiger cub or a dog feeding a piglet or even a chimp protecting a human baby. While it definitely feels good to anthropomorphize and think that these animals are showering unconditional love, it is just their wiring at play that makes them care for babies not their own species. 

Did the simple science for kids in this post make you a little smarter?
If you have any ideas / questions you want to learn about, please leave a note in the comments section. 
Would be glad to know if there are any inaccuracies in the article.

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