April 15, 2015

I like this

Filed under: Paleoanth — acagle @ 7:02 pm

Study Suggests Chins Evolved as Faces Shrank

Scientists have debated for more than a century why modern humans are the only primates to sport chins. Young modern human children have nearly imperceptible chins, similar to Neanderthals, but they grow chins as they mature.
. . .
Team member Robert Franciscus, an anthropologist, suggests that as modern humans formed increasingly cooperative groups, and were less likely to fight over territory and belongings, reduced levels of hormones such as testosterone resulted in noticeable changes in the male craniofacial region—as the face became smaller, the chin became a bony prominence as a matter of geometry.

I’m not sure I go along with the whole hormonal/behavioral thing — I don’t know why our faces shrank and flattened out, apart from having something to do with our brains — but I like the non-functional approach; I suspect a lot of our anatomy has more to do with simple physics than any real “fitness” thing.

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