►When it comes to looking for a long term partner rather than a sexual fling, men will date women with the same or similar eye and hair colour as their own mothers.
Women will choose a long term male partner with the same eye and hair as their own fathers, providing he was around during her childhood.
Scientists said we are subconsciously ’imprinted’ to seek out partners that look like our parents from a young age.
Researchers from the Charles University in Prague looked at past and present relationships of almost 1,900 heterosexual adults.
They then compared eye and hair colour of each partner to that of their opposite-sex parent.
Both men and women tended to choose long term partners - as opposed to sexual flings - that had the same eye colour or hair colour as their opposite-sex parent.
One factor could be ’imprinting’, the researchers, led by Dr Karel Kleisner, wrote in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour.
People often ’internalise’ the characteristics of their parents to such an extent they subconsciously choose mates with similar physical features.
Previous research has claimed we are attracted to people similar to our parents as they were our first experience of a close relationship, making them a template for all of for our future ones.
Eyes and hair do not just mean attractiveness but other qualities - a lack of grey hair suggests good health though some grey hair on a man can convey trustworthiness, said the research.
Eyes, too, can depict all kinds of characteristics from dominance to kindness according to previous studies.
But by choosing long term partners that look like a parent, there is more chance of producing children who appear similar to previous generations of the family.
This may be a subconscious evolutionary choice like that observed in animals to keep the family lineage strong and healthy.
And while adults may pick a partner that looks like their parent, they will also shun them if they had an unhappy childhood, researchers said.