How male jaws evolved to withstand punches after millions of years of fist fights
Human faces have evolved to minimise the damage caused by first fights over millions of years.
17:21 09 June 2014
A recent study has found that men’s jaws, when compared to women’s, are more robust because millions of years of fistfights have altered the human face to minimise the damage.
Researchers have studied the bone structure of ape-like bipeds known as australopiths, which lived about four to five million years ago. They concluded that these creatures’ faces and jaws are strongest in just those areas most likely to be punched.
US lead researcher Dr David Carrier, from the University of Utah, said: "The australopiths were characterised 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.
"If indeed the evolution of our hand proportions were associated with selection for fighting behaviour you might expect the primary target, the face, to have undergone evolution to better protect it from injury when punched."