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