Recent reports from a study suggest that humans have chins because of shrinking of the skull. Earlier, it used to be believed that mechanical forces like chewing helped in the creation of the chin.
The study was published online in the Journal of Anatomy.
The interesting fact was that Neanderthals lacked a chin as did the primates. This made the researchers from the University of Iowa look into the underlying cause since the chin seemed to be a feature unique to modern humans.
Their hypothesis was that chin formation was not related to mechanical chewing. In their view, it could be more related to hormonal level changes overtime as we turned more and more of a social being.
In order to understand the process, the skull development of children was studied from age of three right up to early adulthood. Nearly 292 unique measurements from almost 40 people were taken. The sampling was divided equally in gender with 19 males and 18 females. With this info the researchers concluded that the development of the jaw bone and formation of a prominent chin had very little to do with the stress on the jaws at a younger age.
It looks like the prominent chin that humans possess could be possible because our faces over time became smaller. Thus the chin was formed.
The study said that compared to primitive men, humans from the modern era are more sociable, have a network of people to share information. Basically, they have much larger opportunity to innovate and grow and interact with one another which necessitates tolerating each other. From an aggression based interaction it has become more of curiosity. All this causes hormonal changes that could possibly affect facial architecture.
Dr Nathan Holton, the lead author on the study said, “In short, we do not find any evidence that chins are tied to mechanical function and in some cases we find that chins are worse at resisting mechanical forces as we grow. Overall, this suggests that chins are unlikely related to the need to dissipate stresses and strains and that other explanations are more likely to be correct,”
by Chris Middlebrooks