Did violence shape evolution of the human face? - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Did violence shape evolution of the human face?

Updated: Jun 09, 2014 09:27 AM
© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock
  • Wendy Damonte's Health Watch ReportsMore>>

  • Request Remind Me 2 Kit

    Request a Remind Me 2 Kit

         More >>
  • Generation of Tanners See Spike in Deadly Melanoma

    Generation of Tanners See Spike in Deadly Melanoma

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:55:14 GMT
    The acting U.S. surgeon general is asking Americans to give up their love of sunbathing and indoor tanning beds, citing an alarming 200% jump in the number of deadly melanoma cases diagnosed since 1973.More >>
    The acting U.S. surgeon general is asking Americans to give up their love of sunbathing and indoor tanning beds, citing an alarming 200% jump in the number of deadly melanoma cases diagnosed since 1973.More >>
  • Fist Bumps

    Fist Bumps

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:10:43 GMT
    Most of us were taught that a firm handshake can make a good first impression. But some doctors prefer to greet their patients with a fist bump and science backs up their thinking.More >>
    Most of us were taught that a firm handshake can make a good first impression. But some doctors prefer to greet their patients with a fist bump and science backs up their thinking.More >>

MONDAY, June 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that the human face evolved to minimize injuries from punches during fights between males.

The study noted the evolution of human faces occurred as man's ancestors, known as australopiths, evolved to have hand proportions that allowed them to form a fist.

"The australopiths were characterized by a suite of traits that may have improved fighting ability, including hand proportions that allow formation of a fist, effectively turning the delicate musculoskeletal system of the hand into a club effective for striking," study author David Carrier, a biologist at the University of Utah, said in a university news release.

"If indeed the evolution of our hand proportions were associated with selection for fighting behavior you might expect the primary target, the face, to have undergone evolution to better protect it from injury when punched," he noted.

The researchers said their findings offer more insight into how and why humans evolved from their predecessors who lived about 4 million to 5 million years ago. The findings also shed light on whether or not humans' distant past was violent, they added.

"What our research has been showing is that many of the anatomical characters of great apes and our ancestors, the early hominins (such as bipedal posture, the proportions of our hands and the shape of our faces) do, in fact, improve fighting performance," Carrier said.

The study, published June 9 in the journal Biological Reviews, showed the bones that break most often during fights are in the same parts of the skull that show the greatest difference between males and females in both australopiths and humans.

"In other words, male and female faces are different because the parts of the skull that break in fights are bigger in males," said Carrier. "Importantly, these facial features appear in the fossil record at approximately the same time that our ancestors evolved hand proportions that allow the formation of a fist," he explained.

"Together, these observations suggest that many of the facial features that characterize early hominins may have evolved to protect the face from injury during fighting with fists," Carrier added.

More information

The University of California, Berkley, has more about human evolution.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.