Researcher Suggests Fist Fights Shaped Male Facial Structure

               Australopithecus

The conclusions drawn by researchers in a study conducted at the University of Utah include that male human cranial structure, particularly that of the jaw, has evolved to minimize damage during physical altercations. 

Researchers studied the bone structure of australopiths, ape-like bipeds living four to five million years ago. They discovered that australopith jaws were strongest in areas most likely to receive injury in fist fights. The researchers believe that this facial structure has remained similar to present day and explains current "robust" features of males, as opposed to that of females. Dr. David Carrier, head of this research at the University of Utah, explained,

"The australopiths were characterized 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 behavior, you might expect the primary target, the face, to have undergone evolution to better protect it from injury when punched."

Carrier's study is published in the journal Biological Reviews. Via Unique Daily. Image: Wikimedia Commons  


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So, if millions of years of evolution has shaped our skulls to withstand punches, why has it done none of the same for our reproductive organs (and you know I first typed out something else)?
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This sort of seems like Lemarcksism. The idea that stretching to reach leaves caused giraffes to evolve their necks. It's got evolution on its head and the wrong way around. If this were true, it would mean that sometime early in homonid evolution, several skull shapes were tried, and the survivor, the design that stuck was the one that didn't get punched to death.

you'd need to see evidence of those stupid punchy designs that failed. You can't look at a finished evolutionary design and guess wildly at what led to it. It's much more likely that the shape of our face is caused by the same thing that crafts it today - a mixture of hormones during growth that happens to work well enough to survive and procreate.
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You're both right. I meant the post to be a description of the study and the comments made in summary by those who conducted it. But my headline reads as if it's truth. (I was, however, careful to state "the researchers believe" in my original wording.)

Thanks for your corrections. I'm changing the headline and any wording in the text that needs clarity.
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