Do Cougars Really Spawn a Brighter Brood?

By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 11:22 AM CDT
'The Graduate' cast members, Jerry Hall in the role of Mrs. Robinson, and Rider Strong starring in the role of Benjamin Braddock appear at San Francisco Virgin Megastore.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – "At last, science has produced the case for cougars," writes Emily Nussbaum in New York. A study analyzing more than 50,000 pregnant women found that older fathers produce progeny that score lower on concentration, memory, and learning tests. Older mothers, on the other hand, are associated with smarter children, meaning the brightest kids "must be the outcome of 45-year-old career women inseminated by their 21-year-old personal trainers."

But the study suggests the findings are due to the higher incomes and education levels of older mothers. If social factors account for women’s smarter kids, why do we assume biological factors account for dads’ dimmer offspring? In truth, because "magazine science" often jumps to whatever conclusions it wants to. "Let’s just admit that this is more about social gamesmanship than hard facts. If Us Weekly begins to print pictures of Owen Wilson with worried captions about stale sperm, would that be so bad?"