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Study: Human Face Evolved To Take a Punch
Study: Human Face Evolved To Take a Punch

By Geoffrey Mohan
June 10, 2014 1:30PM

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A new scientific theory says the face of the ancestors of modern humans evolved millions of years ago in a way that would limit injuries from punches during fist fights. Fist-first aggression between males offers a better explanation for the gender difference in facial structure, which lingers in modern humans, than dietary differences.

Did evolution hand man a face that's fit to take a punch? David R. Carrier, a University of Utah biologist who specializes in comparative biomechanics, believes that shortly after human-like primates stopped swinging from trees, they swung at each other. Our jaws, molars, cheeks, brows and other parts of the skull became more robust as a result of perennial fisticuffs, according to a study published this week in the journal Biological Reviews.

The theory already is sparking the same academic boxing match as did Carrier's first parry, two years ago, when he and University of Utah physician Michael H. Morgan suggested the modern hand was more likely adapted for aggression than creativity. A longer and more flexible thumb, boxier palm and shorter digits changed pugilism from a flail-and-bite affair, common to apes, chimps and gorillas, to the jab-and-hook matches seen in the modern boxing ring, Carrier proposed.

Critics pointed out that the slim-boned hand of Homo sapiens isn't so strong, and modern man's face shows scant evidence that it adapted to defend against fists. Progressively slimmer brows, cheeks and jaws, in fact, only made modern man less able to take one on the kisser.

Carrier and Morgan took the punches, then took a look at research on the fossil record. Their review suggests that the face in two extinct branches of hominin, Australopithecus and Paranthropus, became more able to absorb and dissipate facial blows around the same time hands evolved. Those more robust characteristics also became more evident in males, the study suggests.

The researchers believe these changes cannot be explained fully by the prevailing theory that natural selection favored a skull, jaw and molars better suited for a diet of tough food, such as nuts and seeds.

"If you look at modern humans, there's evidence that our muscles are stronger than what's necessary for chewing," Carrier said. "And the difference between males and females in the jaws and jaw muscles is the biggest problem the feeding hypothesis has."

Why would there be such a difference if, as the fossil record suggests, males and females ate the same diet? In addition, the study notes, recent examination of the chemical composition and wear pattern of fossil teeth suggests the paleo diet wasn't as tough to chew as previously thought.

Fist-first aggression between males offers a better explanation for the gender difference in facial structure, which lingers in modern humans, Carrier said. "It's a place where the feeding hypothesis clearly doesn't provide an answer, whereas the buttressing hypothesis does," he said. (continued...)

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© 2014 Los Angeles Times (CA) under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.

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Babu G. Ranganathan:

Posted: 2014-06-11 @ 8:34am PT
NATURAL LIMITS TO EVOLUTION: Only micro-evolution, or evolution within biological "kinds," is genetically possible (such as the varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.), but not macro-evolution, or evolution across biological "kinds," (such as from sea sponge to human). All real evolution in nature is simply the expression, over time, of already existing genes or variations of already existing genes. For example, we have breeds of dogs today that we didn’t have a few hundred years ago. The genes for these breeds had always existed in the dog population but never had opportunity before to be expressed. Only limited evolution or adaptation, variations of already existing genes and traits, is possible.

The genes (chemical instructions or code) must first exist or otherwise the evolution cannot occur. Genes instruct the body to build our tissues and organs. Nature is mindless and has no ability to design and program entirely new genes for entirely new traits. Nature can only work with the genetic ability already existing in species. Nature cannot perform the genetic engineering necessary to increase that genetic ability.

Many people have wrong ideas of how evolution is supposed to work. Physical traits and characteristics are determined and passed on by genes - not by what happens to our body parts. For example, if a woman were to lose her finger this wouldn't affect how many fingers her baby will have. Changing the color and texture of your hair will not affect the color and texture of your children's hair. So, even if an ape's muscles and bones changed so that it could walk upright it still would not be able to pass on this trait to its offspring. Only changes or mutations that occur in the genetic code of reproductive cells (i.e. sperm and egg) can be passed on to offspring.

Modern evolutionists believe and hope that over, supposedly, millions of years, random genetic mutations in the genes of reproductive cells caused by environmental radiation will generate entirely new genes. This is total blind and irrational faith on the part of evolutionists. It's much like believing that randomly changing the sequence of letters in a romance novel, over millions of years, will turn it into a book on astronomy! That's the kind of blind faith macro-evolutionists have.

When evolutionary scientists teach that random genetic mutations in species over, supposedly, millions of years caused by random environmental agents such as radiation, produced entirely new genes (i.e. genetic code or genetic information) leading to entirely new forms of life, they are not teaching science but simply a faith, a belief!

Mutations are accidents in the genetic, are mostly harmful, and have no capability of producing greater complexity in the code. Even if a good accident occurred, for every good one there would be hundreds of harmful ones with the net result, over time, being harmful, even lethal, to the species. At best, mutations only produce further variations within a natural species. Even so, mutations are not the best explanation for variations within a natural species.

Since it is not rational to believe that genetic information, or any form of information, can arise by chance, it is totally rational to believe that God (the Supreme Genetic Engineer) placed within all natural species, in the beginning, with all of the recessive and dominant genes that produced all of the intra-species variations in nature.

If life on earth had really existed for millions of years, all species would have become extinct by now due to the colossal number of accumulated mutations over time (please read the author’s popular Internet article, ARE FOSSILS REALLY MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD?).

What about natural selection? Natural selection doesn't produce biological traits or variations. It can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. The term "natural selection" is a figure of speech. Nature doesn't do any conscious selecting. If a variation occurs in a species (i.e. change in skin color) that helps the species survive then that survival is called being “selected." That's all it is. Natural selection is a passive process in nature, not a creative process.

How could species have survived if their vital tissues, organs, reproductive systems, etc. were still evolving? A partially evolved trait or organ that is not complete and fully functioning from the start would be a liability to a species, not a survival asset. Plants and animals in the process of macro-evolution would be unfit for survival. For example, “if a leg of a reptile were to evolve (over supposedly millions of years) into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing” (Dr. Walt Brown, scientist and creationist). Survival of the fittest actually would have prevented evolution across biological kinds! Read my Internet article: WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS! (2nd Edition).

All species of plants and animals in the fossil record are found complete, fully-formed, and fully functional. This is powerful evidence that species did not come into existence gradually by any macro-evolutionary process but, rather, came into existence as complete and ready-to-go from the very beginning, which is possible only by special creation.

All the fossils that have been used to support human evolution have been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not non-human and human (i.e. Neanderthal Man was discovered later to be fully human). Textbooks and museums still continue to display examples and illustrations supporting human evolution which most evolutionists have rejected and no longer support. Many diagrams of ape-man creatures over the years were reconstructed according to evolutionary interpretations from disputable bones that have now been discredited but still being taught in school textbooks.

What about genetic and biological similarities between species? Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot happen by chance, so it is more logical to believe that genetic and biological similarities between all forms of life are due to a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes. It doesn't mean all forms of life are biologically related! Only genetic similarities within a natural species proves relationship because it's only within a natural species that members can interbreed and reproduce

Also, so-called "Junk DNA" isn't junk. Although these "non-coding" segments of DNA don't code for proteins, they have recently been found to be vital in regulating gene expression (i.e. when, where, and how genes are expressed, so they're not "junk"). Read my popular Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM

The real issue is what biological variations are possible, not natural selection.

Visit my latest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION .
I discuss: Punctuated Equilibria, "Junk DNA," genetics, mutations, natural selection, fossils, dinosaur “feathers,” the genetic and biological similarities between various species, etc., etc.

Babu G. Ranganathan*
(B.A. theology/biology)


*I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who In The East" for my writings on religion and science. I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterward) before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges/universities.


Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 9:42pm PT
I guess cavemen weren't women beaters?


Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 5:27pm PT
Bull! If fistfights were so important, we'd have massive hands now!


Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 5:00pm PT
This is just another junk study. The parietal bones are as thin as a few sheets of paper in a esp. female skull. I see no boxing evolution here. Where do these "scientists"come up w/ this crap?


Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 2:58pm PT
Complete nonsense.


Posted: 2014-06-10 @ 2:12pm PT
millions of years? how long do you think homo whatever has been around? evolution isn't a response function. and punching in the face isn't a normal fighting method. especially with fists. no doubt males risked more fatal injuries before puberty. but, fist fighting is the least likely. look for thicker skulls in general in a hostile environment.

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