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Several factors affected the way the human face has evolved over the years, a recent study revealed.
Thousands of years ago, early human species had large faces. But now, the modern human face has become considerably smaller with a flatter forehead, a smaller jaw, and more visible, mobile eyebrows. The researchers, who were from various universities, said that these modifications were a result of climate change, diet, and social communication.
The researchers explained that diet and climate change are already known to be associated with human face evolution. In prehistoric times, humans required massive jaws to chew hard food. However, the human face began to shrink after humans learned to cook, which reduced the need to chew. Living in different temperatures also reshaped the parts of the face that are involved in breathing.
Aside from diet and climate change, the need to express emotions through non-verbal communication also helped shape the human face. Over time, the human face has become slender and has developed eyebrows that are capable of movement. These changes made it easy to express a wide range of emotions, such as sympathy and recognition.
On another note, the researchers claim that the human face may still continue to evolve. Because humans live in industrialized societies, many activities are now less laborious. Modern processed food has also become widely available. According to lead researcher Paul O’Higgins, these lifestyle changes can make the human face shrink more. While the human face can change only to an extent, O’Higgins explained that evolution will continue as long as humans live in varying cultural, environmental, and social conditions.