According to the latest news, scientists proved teeth narrate the human evolution. It is believed the new findings could point out a strong connection between fossil species and modern humans. Modern humans were thought to be the only members of the human family tree who survived.
Despite this, other species also lived on Earth; they are called hominins. Experts tried for many times to find out more about our evolution by analyzing human fossils. This process was a very difficult one, especially because in some cases scientists had to make do with no more than a handful of bones.
Nevertheless, a new study showed a technique which is believed to provide more information about the human evolution. Researchers claim it is possible to tell the size of a teeth row only by using a single isolated tooth. This way, experts get more insight about the shape of our jaws and skulls. Based on this technique, anthropologists can reconstruct the dental system of our species. This means experts can see how diet and behavior of our ancestors influenced the human evolution.
The most often found hominin fossils are teeth, because they represent the hardest parts of the body. According to the main author of the study, Alistair Evans, teeth can reveal a lot of things about our ancestors. The expert explained teeth can point out information about early species and their diet. Throughout the evolution, hominin teeth changed their size.
This is often due to the wisdom teeth’s location at the back of the mouth. In modern human, wisdom teeth are very small or even undeveloped. However, early humans had large wisdom teeth, with huge chewing surfaces, about two to four times bigger than modern human’s. Until now, previous studies indicated the size of the wisdom teeth in modern humans decreased because the advent of cooking or other dietary changes.
Nonetheless, Evans claimed this change may have taken place earlier in the human evolution. For the current study, experts examined teeth size in modern humans as well as in fossil hominins. The results suggested two groups of hominin teeth. The first group belonged to the genus Homo; this genus includes modern human and extinct human relatives. The second group indicated early hominins before Homo, including australopiths, the first to walk on two feet.
Australopiths and other early hominins had bigger teeth in the back of their mouth, with constant proportions. These teeth remained the same regardless the size of other teeth. Nevertheless, in the genus Homo all the teeth were smaller, even those in the back of their mouth.
Evans claimed there is a fundamental difference between the two groups of hominins. Moreover, he added this difference might define our genus Homo. In the light of the new findings, researchers believe the teeth evolution in Homo and other hominins is linked to the advent of tools.
As Evans explained:
“Tool use meant we didn’t need as big teeth and jaws as earlier hominins. This may then have increased evolutionary pressure to spend less energy developing teeth, making our teeth smaller”.
The newly found information about how can teeth narrate the human evolution is very important to scientists. They claim the results not only point out new clues about our past, but also might tell us more about our future evolution.
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