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Is it possible the human body evolved to take a punch to the face? Widespread evidence would say otherwise, but a physician and several biologists are making news for having a convincing case to say so. The currently accepted belief is that the human jawline evolved to be hard and pronounced over time, for eating nuts and berries, and then later softened. These guys think the jaw evolved because humans are violent douches.
The violent douche part is actually backed with some data. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a majority of violent incidents that happen between two individuals involves some sort of violence towards the face, causing fractures, concussions, and loads of other trauma a prehistoric human may not have been equipped to deal with. It is for this reason that David Carrier and Michael Morgan (the theorizers of this controversial statement) believe the jaw line was hardened to absorb the blows of human violence and protect the most important tool in the human body, the brain. Their evidence of this is taken heavily from an ancient skull dated back four million years from Africa.
This theory is meant to play off a former theory of Carrier's stating that the human hand evolved for punching. Carrier has spent a career trying to find links between human development and violence. In his defense, humans are the only primates able to form a fist with their hands, which has long explained our evolutionary advantage over other species. While that was typically just thought to be in the sense of developing and utilizing tools, it could officially have a dual meaning if Carrier can gain any support for his theories.
It’s hard to argue that humans aren’t violent at their core. We are the only species to launch wars with each other over entire continents, and everyone gathers in interest when a fight breaks out. Is it true that our bodies have truly evolved for violence? If Carrier is right, why aren’t our jaws still hard and rigid? Time has gone on, but humans have not grown any less violent, so perhaps this is the flaw in his thinking. Interesting theory though, nonetheless!