It’s not consistent with a simple genetic theory where you just get both parents’ genes.
It might be consistent with a more complicated genetic theory where mate preferences are on a sex-appropriate chromosome or get chromosomally imprinted such that you only care about your father’s preferences for women and your mother’s preferences for men, but this is hard and I haven’t seen any analysis of whether it’s evolutionarily worth it.
They were analyzing a bunch of data from a big Australian survey of twins.
So maybe the person we end up marrying isn’t a good proxy for our mate preferences per se.
(this is starting to get kind of depressing) They investigate this hypothesis in a followup study where they directly ask twins about their preferences for an ideal mate.
Such a striking finding should increase our confidence in all of the above experiments a lot.
So okay, I guess this issue is solved, it’s definitely just sexual imprinting on the opposite-sex parent, thank goodness, for once we have a perfectly clear noncontradictory result and we can all just go home and – We also tested for evidence of sexual imprinting, where individuals acquire mate-choice criteria during development by using their opposite-sex parent as the template of a desirable mate; there was no such effect for any trait. Okay, fine, let’s look at this a little more closely.
(I hope these researchers went above and beyond in keeping all their data confidential!