Some of our early ancestors may have evolved their chunky brows and sturdy jaws not because of dietary or environmental reasons, but as a defence against the fists of rival men battling for that last tasty dinosaur burger or the affections of the hairiest lady in the village.
That's according to Prof David Carrier, who suggests the thick facial features of the australopiths -- the Homo strand of man's predecessor -- were a defensive evolutionary strategy to stop the jaw getting broken in fights. Because back then, before Heinz tomato soup was invented, a broken jaw meant certain death.
The reason we now have thinner facial features these days is because our arms are weaker than they used to be, requiring less in the way of facial buttressing to protect us from incoming blows. That and the fact that we've learned a kick to the nuts is a much more effective assault. [BBC]
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