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Did male faces evolve to take punches ?

Posted on Tuesday, 10 June, 2014 | Comment icon 58 comments

Early man may have engaged in frequent fist fights. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Cicero Moraes

The facial features of our male ancestors may have been an evolutionary defense against fist fights.

According to a new study, the bones in the face that are most commonly broken in a punch-up saw the greatest increase in strength during our male ancestors' early evolution while our female ancestors saw no such changes.

This suggests that these adaptations were a response to a tendency for males to engage in fist fights, most likely due to violent competition between rivals.

Known as the "protective buttressing hypothesis", the idea has now superseded the previous suggestion that the more robust facial features were in response to a tough diet of seeds and nuts.

"Jaws are one of the most frequent bones to break - and it's not the end of the world now, because we have surgeons, we have modern medicine," said lead author Prof David Carrier.

"But four million years ago, if you broke your jaw, it was probably a fatal injury. You wouldn't be able to chew food... You'd just starve to death."

Source: BBC News | Comments (58)

Tags: Evolution

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #49 Posted by Junior Chubb on 16 June, 2014, 20:00
I did find that strange... No logic in a theory based on logic and observation? Compare that to the other theories that in general rely on faith.
Comment icon #50 Posted by bubblykiss on 18 June, 2014, 18:50
Think non-organic evoluition of cars, shoes, clothing, social systems. They start basic and become more advanced as they progress through time. The same happens with living things. Only slower. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ford_Motor_Company
Comment icon #51 Posted by Leonardo on 18 June, 2014, 19:04
It's easy. You want smart kids then have sex with a smart man. If you want ugly kids, then have sex with an ugly man. That's a gross oversimplification, of course, and so not entirely true - but I hope it'll help with the making-of-sense.
Comment icon #52 Posted by psyche101 on 19 June, 2014, 5:21
Well - doesn't the Lloyds Bank coprolite offer a different impression.........
Comment icon #53 Posted by psyche101 on 19 June, 2014, 5:23
Evolution itself, or the OP's claim?
Comment icon #54 Posted by aquatus1 on 19 June, 2014, 9:06
Even more disturbing, I remember in a sociology class I took in college, we talked about how 10%-15% of women admitted to adultery with stronger, "manlier" men than their husbands to the point of pregnancy, at which point they went back to being loyal and raising the child with the guy who wasn't as manly, but was financially stable. The teacher also mentioned that as many as 30% of men in the US were unwittingly raising children that were not their own, but I don't recall being given a source for that. There does seem to be some concurrence with Kinsey, though. There d... [More]
Comment icon #55 Posted by hellwyr on 25 June, 2014, 10:39
stupid only because in contemporary society there is the believe that men hit eachother they think it is evolutionary..... and secondly didnt women look the same.
Comment icon #56 Posted by RabidMongoose on 25 June, 2014, 10:49
At uni level they do teach people to criticise and question all theories. I didn't do my degree in biology but I bet on the topic of Darwins evolution there's arguments for and against it. At high school you just get taught everything as if it were fact. 95% of society still believe themselves to be nothing more than machines, that atoms are like minature solar systems and that they behave like the balls on a pool table. You have to know when to switch off because those who know very little (no Uni degree in the subject) don't know what they're going on about although they ... [More]
Comment icon #57 Posted by RabidMongoose on 25 June, 2014, 10:59
Women like men that think like woman (they get along, are loyal, are more feeling orientated). However when it comes to breeding they want a real man! lol
Comment icon #58 Posted by seeder on 25 June, 2014, 11:24
Maybe this will help, (and if you click the links there are further simple examples) quote: The yellow bellied three-toed skink (Saiphos equalis) is a lizard of New South Wales, in Australia, that appears to be undergoing the change from laying eggs to live birth. Since these skinks can either lay eggs or give birth, it gives scientists the chance to study the adaptations necessary for live birth. Skink embryos encased in an egg have an extra source of calcium that the live born skinks lack. It turns out that this nutritional difference is made up by the mother secreting extra calcium fo... [More]

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