Credit: Tim Schoon, University of Iowa
By Science Daily
Look at a primate or a Neanderthal skull and compare it with a modern human’s. Notice anything missing? We have one feature that primates, Neanderthals, archaic humans — any species, for that matter — don’t possess: a chin.
“In some way, it seems trivial, but a reason why chins are so interesting is we’re the only ones who have them,” says Nathan Holton, who studies craniofacial features and mechanics at the University of Iowa. “It’s unique to us.”
New research led by Holton and colleagues at the UI posits that our chins don’t come from mechanical forces such as chewing, but instead results from an evolutionary adaptation involving face size and shape — possibly linked to changes in hormone levels as we became more societally domesticated.
The finding, if true, may help settle a debate that’s gone on intermittently for more than a century why modern humans have chins and how they came to be.
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