Invention of Farming Led to Changes In Human Mandible

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tags: farming, archaeology, Human Mandible

Farming came into existence around 10, 000 B.C.E. as hunter-gatherers began to form pre-civilized settlements. However, new research shows that physical changes to the human jaw also developed as agriculture grew.  A team of researchers from University College in Dublin – working in conjunction with both the Israel Antiquity Authority and the State University of New York in Buffalo – has analyzed 292 skeletons ranging from 28,000 to 6,000 years old. The skeletons are from the Levant (a region in Southwest Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia), Anatolia (or Modern-day Turkey) and Europe.   The team discovered that the lower human mandible changed over the time frame as our ancestors transitioned from a nomadic existence to a state of reliance on agriculture.  One of the researchers, Ron Pinhasi of University College, Dublin stated: "Our analysis shows that the lower jaws of the world's earliest farmers in the Levant are not simply smaller versions of those of the predecessor hunter-gatherers, but that the lower jaw underwent a complex series of shape changes commensurate with the transition to agriculture."   The researchers found that as time progressed, the skeltons' jawbones shrank, but their tooth size was unaffected. This, the team argues, could possibly be the precursor to the modern day dilemma of dental overcrowding....  

Read entire article at New Historian

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