When over 80% of the modern population now get impacted wisdom teeth, we have lost sight of where we came from and believe wisdom teeth are unnecessary teeth, some sort of mistake in nature’s design. Why is the jaws getting smaller, what role does small jaw vs. large jaw play in attractiveness of an individual?
Begin to study our ancestors just 200-300 years ago or hunter & gatherers of today or the past, and you see fully functional wisdom teeth with broad jaws and robust facial features.
Ancient aboriginal skull vs. modern skull.
(left) 18,000 yr old skull, oldest found in Japan. (right) Jōmon skull (12,000 to 300 BC) *very little change *both were hunter-gatherers
The hunter gatherer had short skulls, with wide & sturdy lower jaw, base of nose projected forward, high brow, teeth meshed together flat like pair of pliers, highly efficient design for chewing very tough foods.
- Yayoi (left) and Kofun (right) Period 300 BC – 538 AD (Start of intensive rice agriculture)
- Yayoi is theorized to have migrated in masses from Asia mainland around 300 BC, bringing with them more advanced culture. It is believed Yayoi are the ancestors of 80% of current Japanese population. So this was the one major time Japan has seen outside influence
- Square-ish, circle face. Still relatively wide but face beginning to lengthen, eye sockets rounded, base of nose flattened (flatter profile)
- Teeth met like scissors, so not as efficient in tearing through tough foods. Symptom of population beginning to eat rice.
- Kamakura Period 1185–1333 AD (samurai, warrior castle, & establishment of feudalism in Japan)
- Further lengthening of the face and becoming more delicate, as culture became more advanced.
- Edo Period 1603-1868 AD (more complex culture, Western trade established)
- Head shape becoming oval
- The appearance of Modern-like skulls amongst the very wealthy (Feudal Lords)
- The alveolar (the bone that support the teeth at the gums) had receded causing protruding of the front teeth (buck teeth) to appear. They would of had even harder time chewing through tough foods.
It is interesting to see the skulls change with the change in culture. & also interesting to see that the wealthy were had more lengthening than the rest of the population.
There’s a big change after agriculture, and more changes when the culture became fairly civilized.
They made a face using the average of high school student 50 years ago to now, and found that the change has sped up in the last half century. Jaw is slimming down and face is lengthening.
Even though Cranial Dystrophy becoming endemic is modern phenomenon, the wealthy of the past shows clear signs, because they were rich enough to get busts & portraits made of them!
Back then a face like Julius Ceaser’s must have been considered attractive, because it was rare. The slim face was sign of the wealthy. *The noble face*
The most likely cause was that they were rich enough to acquire highly nutritious, soft diet that required much less chewing than the common folks eating much more rough diet. This becomes evident when you study the wear on teeth.
After Industrial Revolution with big shift in diet as we moved from farms to cities and got wage jobs and began getting food from supermarkets. Food became consumer product with company interest in selling food that sells. High reward(calorie), less effort(mastication) diet, meaning less and less chewing.
With much of modern population largely affected by Cranial Dystrophy, now what we consider as attractive may have shifted back to more square jaw type structures.
When you begin to see malocclusion and small jaws as lifestyle problems and not genetic.
It is quite interesting to begin to piece together the face of an individual to how they were brought up. I have found good number of interviews of models & actresses now, where they have this rise to fame story from often very humble beginnings raised on a farm, deep country side, or from much less developed countries.
Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington has quite impressive mandible, she was brought up on a farm. Could we be seeing a completely different person if she was raised in the city?
Of course, it may not always be about the square jaws when it comes to attractiveness, there’s people like G-Dragon leader of boy band group from S. Korea, Big Bang, adored by many female fans, however does not have horizontal jaws.
He had minor crowding in the front incisors which he corrected with veneers, I suppose the palate could be wider, indicating some Cranial Dystrophy had taken place however the nose doesn’t seem too prominent.
Can Beauty / Attraction be Defined?
I do think people tend to have objective agreement on what faces are handsome. There are phrases like “traditionally handsome” or “stud” I think all point to someone with great structure.
When Cranial Dystrophy begins to deviate people from the ideal, the more likely there is to be various preference towards certain faces which may be influenced by individual’s up bringing. Freud talked about the relationship with mother / father having an effect.
Envelope of Attractiveness – above chart is a simple illustration of this phenomenon. At the very top you will find people with the least Cranial Dystrophy and most people will agree that yes they are the most attractive people.
The more the face deviates from this point, the larger the influence of personal preference.
Until you get to a point where there is more severe Cranial Dystrophy and everyone comes to consensus on the least attractive.
I believe G-Dragon is somewhere 2/3rds up on that tear drop or slightly above mid way point.
He has enough width in maxilla to present a good smile with the help of veneers. But not everyone will agree that he is most attractive. His social status plays big role into it but that’s a separate dynamic, for now we are pretending he is a normal individual.
Male model, Theo Theodoridis, may give us some idea that’s closer to the top of the tear drop.
Notice the prognathic facial structure.
When you begin to see that these type of structures were common 200-300 years ago in our ancestors, it begins to dawn on us that our faces as a whole species has been changing and this cannot be explained by genetics because science shows that genes have change very little from our past.
Yet we have gone from less than 5% malocclusion to 80-95%.
How would entire population of humans shift in genes this rapidly?
It’s just not likely when you begin to see from a higher vantage point.
Evolution? but where is the evidence for the evolutionary pressure that favors crooked teeth and weeds out straight teeth?
The problem is, we now live in an abnormal environment, which we think is normal because everyone is living in it. If you go outside and look around, everything as far as the eye can see has been built by man. Even the trees that’s planted.
If our ancestors saw the scene, they would think its an alien planet.
I will leave you with an excellent quote Mike sent me the other day which encapsulates the condition of modern man.
“It’s more comfortable to believe that your facial appearance is genetically determined, but despite populate wisdom this is factually inaccurate and does not fit the hard scientific evidence. We forget that we are not living a normal life style, we think that how we live today is normal because we live like everyone else, which normalizes our abnormal environment. If you place someone with the same genes in the same environment then the same thing is likely to happen to them, and as soon as you forget the environmental change then you are left with the illusion that there is a genetic cause. Also it is not as comfortable to think that not only do you have an issue/problem (any word here is emotive), but it is your fault and this problem is your face which is quintessentially your whole being and identity (very emotive). The only consolation is that, although difficult, you can do something about it!” -Mike Mew
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