Friday, July 11, 2014

2266 Browbeat

Some evolutionary biologists have an interesting new theory. They're saying men have evolved to take a punch in the face.

They wondered why it is that men tend to be a bit more brutish looking than women. How it is, from a sexually attractive point of view, that they evolved. Since most of evolutionary theory revolves around traits developed for propagating the species, from peacock's feathers to buck horns, how does a big brow fit into the equation?

The scientists say that more robust brows and cheeks, bigger jaws, and tougher teeth evolved for protection during fights over mates, as well as food and other resources. 

This seems to say we didn't evolve from the peaceful bonobo side of the primate tree, like some idealists hope, but the aggressive chimpanzee branch. And used that branch to bash each other over the head.

Comparing the bones of our ancestor Australopithecus with those of modern apes, it appears the parts of the face that became stronger were those that most often break when modern humans fight. Since evolution takes a while, it looks like they were fighting for a long time. They must have been australopithed off. 

The new theory also builds on an earlier conjecture that the modern hand is perfectly evolved to form a fist, what with its flexible thumb, squared palm, and shorter fingers. Researchers noted that the modern fist hand showed up in the fossil record about 4 million years ago. About the time we thickened our faces. 

And here I thought our modern hand evolved to text while holding a smartphone. 

I'm not sure such simultaneous fist and brow timing works out. Evolution takes eons after all. Still, it's great to see that science is finally facing up to human aggression.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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