How your face was shaped by prehistoric punch-ups

How your face was shaped by prehistoric punch-ups
Embargoed to 0500 Monday June 9 Undated handout photo issued by the University of Utah of an artist’s impression of how human faces may have evolved to minimise injury from punches, say scientists. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 9, 2014. See PA story SCIENCE Face. Photo credit should read: University of Utah/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

It isn’t just Carl Froch’s knockout victim George Groves whose face has been rearranged by punches.

We all bear the marks of our species’ penchant for biffing each other in the visage, new research suggests.

Being dealt a bone-breaking blow was such a threat to survival that we evolved to make it harder for attackers to do damage, according to experts who studied human pre-cursors the australopiths.

Having started with a protruding jaw that cried out to be stoved in, the hominids developed a human-like skull in which the areas likeliest to get hit were toughest.

Lead researcher Dr David Carrier said: ‘The australopiths were characterised by traits that may have improved fighting ability – including hand proportions that allow formation of a fist.

‘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 also undergone evolution to better protect it.’

The role of fighting in evolution is a favourite topic of Dr Carrier, from the University of Utah – he also believes that we learned to walk on two legs to make us nimbler opponents in brawls.

His study of the australopiths – who lived 4million years ago – pours more cold water on the notion that humans before civilisation were ‘noble savages’.

The theory offers a clue as to why men – being more likely to get in scraps – have evolved heavier face bones than women.

But the fight factor has played a role in the facial evolution of both sexes, according to his research published in journal Biological Reviews.

8 June 2014 | 9:15 pm – Source:

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