Human physical appearance

Human physical appearance is the outward phenotype or look of human beings.

Human body

There are infinite variations in human phenotypes, though society reduces the variability to distinct categories. Physical appearance of humans, in particular those attributes which are regarded as important for physical attractiveness, are believed by anthropologists to significantly affect the development of personality and social relations. Humans are acutely sensitive to their physical appearance.[1] Some differences in human appearance are genetic, others are the result of age, lifestyle or disease, and many are the result of personal adornment.

Some people have linked some differences, with ethnicity, such as skeletal shape, prognathism or elongated stride. Different cultures place different degrees of emphasis on physical appearance and its importance to social status and other phenomena.


Various aspects are considered relevant in relation to the physical appearance of humans.

Physiological differencesEdit

Humans are distributed across the globe with the exception of Antarctica, and form a variable species. In adults, average weight varies from around 88 pounds for the smallest and most lightly built tropical people to around 176 pounds for the heavier northern peoples.[2] Size also varies between the sexes, the sexual dimorphism in humans being more pronounced than that of chimpanzees, but less than the dimorphism found in gorillas.[3] The colouration of skin, hair and eyes also varies considerably, with darker pigmentation dominating in tropical climates and lighter in polar regions.

Long-term physiological changesEdit

Short-term physiological changesEdit

Clothing, personal effects, and intentional body modificationsEdit

Other functional objects, temporarily attached to the bodyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Anderson-Fye, EP (2012). Cash, Thomas F. (ed.). "Anthropological Perspectives on Physical Appearance and Body Image" (PDF). Body Image and Its Disorder in Anthropology. 1. Academic Press: 19. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-384925-0.00003-1. Retrieved August 9, 2018. [Cases] of immigration have repeatedly shown that if a person who is obese believes that his or her body is beyond individual control but is placed into a medical system that assumes individual rational actors in its treatments, adherence is likely to be low and those treatments are ineffective...[Young] ethnic Fijian women associated the thin body ideal with a particular lifestyle that they found desirable Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2003–2006" (PDF). Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  3. ^ Shea, Brian T. (1985). "The ontogeny of sexual dimorphism in the African apes". American Journal of Primatology. 8 (2): 183–188. doi:10.1002/ajp.1350080208.