How the human face has changed over 6 million years of evolution

“We are a product of our past, ” says human evolution expert William Kimbell of Arizona State University. This is true for people of all key eras who have evolved in accordance with new factors in their lives. One of the most interesting in this light, perhaps, is the history of the human face.

Initially, about 6 million years ago, the human head functionally resembled the head of an animal - any food was torn off by the teeth, so the main volume was occupied by a platform for powerful jaws. But about 2 million years ago, tools were firmly prescribed in the everyday life of ancient people - not only for hunting, but also for everyday life. Food began to be cut, crushed, boiled, baked, mixed - the jaws of people sharply decreased in size. Today we have come almost to the limit, because of which the teeth no longer fit into smaller jaws.

Convex eyebrows and sloping forehead - like a helmet, in ancient times protected the human brain and eyes. As the threat decreased, the forehead became straight and high, and the eyebrows became mobile. How many important gestures do you know that are depicted by eyebrows and eye movements? Articulate speech appeared much later than the time when people were already firmly living in communities, social groups, where issues had to be resolved not by fight, but by dialogue. One cannot do without developed facial muscles, and this gave an impetus to the development of skills that are not in demand in animals.

Evolution continues today, in particular, a further reduction of the nose and airways is no longer possible so that people do not suffocate, so our heads cannot become even smaller. But the structure of the respiratory system may change, which will lose the function of heating the inhaled air, and instead will begin to intensively humidify it if global warming on the planet lasts for centuries.