Click For Photo: https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2019/04/190415113813_1_540x360.jpg
But how did the modern human face evolve to look the way it does? Eight of the top experts on the evolution of the human face, including Arizona State University's William Kimbel, collaborated on an article published this week in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution to tell this four-million-year story. Kimbel is the director of the Institute of Human Origins and Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.
After our ancestors stood on two legs and began to walk upright, at least 4.5 million years ago, the skeletal framework of a bipedal creature was pretty well formed. Limbs and digits became longer or shorter, but the functional architecture of bipedal locomotion had developed.
Skull - Library - Changes - Time - History
But the skull and teeth provide a rich library of changes that we can track over time, describing the history of evolution of our species. Prime factors in the changing structure of the face include a growing brain and adaptations to respiratory and energy demands, but most importantly, changes in the jaw, teeth, and face responded to shifts in diet and feeding behavior. We are, or we evolved to be, what we eat -- literally!
Diet has played a large role in explaining evolutionary changes in facial shape. The earliest human ancestors ate tough plant foods that required large jaw muscles and cheek teeth to break down, and their faces were correspondingly broad and deep, with massive muscle attachment areas.
Environment - Conditions
As the environment changed to drier, less wooded conditions, especially in the...
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