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Why do some people have dimples?

In 1923 Evangeline I. Gilbert filed a patent for a “dimple-making device,” which was essentially a metal strap with two buttons that left indentations in the wearer’s cheeks. While the invention is unlikely to have lasting effects, its very existence is evidence that many people consider dimples to be an attractive, sought-after feature.

According to Bustle, the leading theory for the cause of this charming anomaly includes the Zygomaticus major, the muscle that runs from your cheekbone to the corner of your mouth and raises that angle when you smile. In people without dimples, the zygomaticus major is a continuous band; However, with some of our pimpled counterparts, researchers have found that the muscle actually forks near the mouth. When you smile, a dimple appears in which this “double or bifid Zygomaticus major”

; divides. However, scientists haven’t fully proven that the zygomaticus major is responsible for all dimples – it is also possible that variations in other facial muscles can affect dimpling.

How some of us end up with these atypical pitting facial muscles is also still an unanswered question. Many parents agree that genetics is the key to the puzzle, as dimpled parents often have dimpled children. Although it was previously widely believed that dimples were a dominant trait (i.e., if both parents have dimples, their children always have dimples), it has since been found that this is not always the case. Well, as Healthline explains, dimples are more commonly viewed as an “irregular dominant feature,” which basically means there are some exceptions to the rule. Much like how multiple facial muscles – and not just the zygomaticus major – can cause dimples in some people, dimple inheritance can be affected by a combination of genes instead of just one.

In short, we definitely don’t know all about dimples. We can be reasonably sure that as adorable dimples are, it’s probably not worth clipping a metal device to your face.

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