Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Evolution of the overbite and fist fights

Identity VerifiedThinker in Science / Social Sciences / Sociology
Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.

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On Grains and Fighting Gains: Ponderations on the Evolution of the Overbite

Jun. 9, 2014 4:31 am
Categories: CounterknowledgeDysology
In a recent blog post I wrote about my on-going dental saga and the evolution of the human overbite. At my last bank-account haemorrhaging foray to my dentist I was told that besides my overbite there was clear evidence that damage to the roots of my front teeth had been caused by extensive historical trauma. I begged to differ as I could remember no such event. Then I remembered my teenage boxing years (some 40 years ago mind you) - and I was a bit of a scrapper throughout my life at school. "That would do it" said my consultant root-treatment surgeon as she set about fixing a worn-out root canal filling. I swear I could see cartoon pound signs reflected in her eyes. 
Today, I see that the latest research suggests that the human skull evolved by a process of natural selection to favour those with a skull that could better withstand human punches   . Now - surely - having an overbite (where the back teeth meet hard together and the front teeth overlap) would benefit its owner in three ways (1) Less chance of their jaw being broken when struck (2) Less chance of their front teeth being knocked out - since the front teeth are braced - top over bottom (3) other research shows an athletic performance advantage is gained by biting down hard - facilitated by overbite.   
Perhaps fighting,as opposed to our modern - agricultural - diet of grains led to the evolution of the overbite?
So is it possible to infer from this latest research that violence played such a role in human evolution that our predilection to violence was what made it possible for us to chew grains - hence drove the move towards settlement and agriculture? I have no idea - it's not my field. And from what little I have read on this topic, it appears that we are faced with disentangling the effects of findings that our own individual overbite my be effected not just by evolution but by our own individual personal history bottle feeding, fork use and diet.    In short, it's complicated. I am similarly as unsure as I am of everything else in the blog post about whether or not you might actually do worse than to follow me on Twitter here    . That said, you could always note the nastily evolved pointy fist on my Supermythbuster twitter   account and then block it just in case.

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