Imperial College London

Tom Versluys

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Casual - Academic Professional







Hamilton BuildingSilwood Park





Current position

PhD candidate, NERC DTP, Faculty of Life Sciences (2018-present): exploring phenotypic and genotypic assortative mating in heterosexual and homosexual human couples, and the consequences for offspring viability.

Research interests

My previous research has focussed on how human attractiveness judgements are influenced by body morphology, especially limb proportions. My current work explores the related subject of realised human mate choice (i.e., who do people actually take as mates, rather than who are they attracted to). I have outside interests in conservation science and the use of experimental and quantitative methods in understanding conservation decision-making. 

Current research 

My work consists of several related projects. First, I am testing assortative mating for facial characteristics (shape, structure, and colour) in human heterosexual and homosexual couples. In collaboration with Alexander Lattas and Stefanos Zafeirou from the Department of Computer Science, I am using state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology to create digital facial models of couples that facilitate quantitative comparisons. Second, I am testing more general phenotypic and genotypic assortative mating in couples from the UK Biobank, a large database consisting of >500,000 participants (including up to 50,000 couples). The primary goal of this project is to explore the influence of assortative mating on offspring viability (e.g., health, relative size), testing the hypothesis that the evolution of this common behavioural trait has been driven in part by selection for compatibility that leads to greater offspring fitness. Whether this is biological in nature (e.g., maintaining coadapted gene complexes) or social (e.g., matching for personality traits to improve cooperation) remains to be seen and will be explored where possible. 

These two projects are united by a secondary research objective, namely to explore non-reproductive human mate choice among same-sex couples (i.e., homosexuality). Specifically, my work will test whether homosexual and heterosexual mate choice follow similar patterns, offering insights into potential factors underlying the evolution of homosexuality. This work is part of a wider series of projects being undertaken in my lab, headed by Vincent Savolainen, on the evolution of homosexuality in non-human primates. 


Primary supervisor: Vincennt Savolainen (Life Sciences) 

Secondary supervisor: Stefanos Zafeiriou (Department of Computing) 



Versluys T, Powell G, Pooley S, et al., 2019, Using environmental niche modelling to investigate the importance of ambient temperature in human-crocodilian attack occurrence for two species of crocodilian. 2019., Oryx, ISSN:0030-6053

Versluys TMM, Foley RA, Skylark WJ, 2018, The influence of leg-to-body ratio, arm-to-body ratio and intra-limb ratio on male human attractiveness, Royal Society Open Science, Vol:5, Pages:171790-171790

Versluys TMM, Skylark WJ, 2017, The effect of leg-to-body ratio on male attractiveness depends on the ecological validity of the figures, Royal Society Open Science, Vol:4, Pages:170399-170399

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