Why do our faces look the way they do?

An expert explains how climate, food, and other factors influenced the evolution of our faces.
funny face (face evolution concept)

New research covers roughly 4 million years of history and integrates many different lines of study to get at the factors that contribute to facial shape.

The researchers conclude that the face’s appearance is a combination of biomechanical, physiological, and social influences.

The face: it’s personal, yet universal. It’s how we recognize each other and communicate our emotions—and yet there’s more to it than immediately meets the eye. Beneath the skin and muscles that form our smirks and scowls are 14 different bones that house parts of the digestive, respiratory, visual, and olfactory systems—enabling us to sniffle, chew, blink, and much more.

Thanks to the discovery of fossils, researchers are able to observe how faces have evolved over time, from extinct hominin species walking the Earth millions of years ago, to Neanderthals, to the only remaining hominin species—Homo sapiens, or humans. Analyzing the visages of our ancestors provides clues about why our faces have grown shorter and flatter over millennia. Which environmental and cultural factors influenced the structure of our modern faces, and how might climate change reshape them yet again?

Two years ago, Rodrigo Lacruz, associate professor of basic science and craniofacial biology at New York University’s College of Dentistry, gathered a group of leading human evolution experts at a conference in Madrid, Spain, to discuss the evolutionary roots of the modern human face. Their detailed account of its history appears in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Here, Lacruz describes how we came to look the way we do.

The post Why do our faces look the way they do? appeared first on Futurity.

Другое от: Futurity

Futurity2 мин. чтения
Pandemic Puts Certain Groups In High-hazard Work
Women hold two-thirds of the jobs in the harshest category of work, according to new report on Washington workers during the pandemic. The researchers looked at data on demographics, working conditions, wages and benefits, and risks of exposure to di
Futurity3 мин. чтенияMedical
Multiple Droughts Can Be A Mixed Bag For Forests
Successive droughts are generally increasingly detrimental to forests, even when each drought was no more extreme than the initial one, according to new research. Drought is endemic to the American West along with heatwaves and intense wildfires. But
Futurity3 мин. чтения
Mosquito Neurons For Tasting Blood ‘Break The Rules’
Researchers have pinpointed a unique group of neurons in female mosquitoes that activate only when sugar, salt, and other components of blood are all present at once. The human blood meal is a favorite recipe for female mosquitoes. They’re so drawn t