Our ancestors had more sturdy structure, and teeth that were worn down indicating they had tougher diet and more powerful jaws, but how does this translate into facial beauty?
Left is picture of hunter gatherer skull over 10,000 years old. The white you see in the cheekbones is a development of dense sponge-like bone matrix inside the bone, a sign that their zygomatic bone where the masseter (chewing) muscle attaches has been made very strong and protruded out. Their faces were wider and more square, while modern human’s skull is getting longer and narrow, more oval shape. Anthropology note they had much more 3D face and protruding base of the nose (forward maxilla) while modern humans faces are getting flatter.
It is this dense build up of the bone matrix that is showing up as white on the X-ray, where the bone is required for mastication. This is direct sign of environmental effect not genetics.
Ancestor skull vs. Modern lateral view. The difference in lower jaw is very obvious, but look at the difference in bone thickness of the upper jaw, where the upper teeth is planted. It seems like if the modern man tried to eat the tough foods that ancestors were eating, the bone would fracture. X-Ray really shows how “delicate” the structure has become.
Is this equivalent to cats and dogs becoming domesticated? are we now shadow versions of our former selves and forgot we once had very powerful jaws and more robust, 3 dimensional faces with big broad features?
What does this face look like with stronger jaws and wider more 3D features?
some believe these type of faces are less attractive, more primitive looking. “ape-like”
In Asia there seems to be rising preference towards smaller faces, and some girls get jaw reduction surgery.
But I have found that individuals considered most attractive usually have sturdier jaws and broader faces.
Katy Perry vs. Candice Swanepoel
What is considered more attractive the slimmer face or the wider one?
Notice how the difference between Katy and Candice’s facial shape is very similar to the difference between the ancestor and modern skulls.
We assume these differences are genetic, but archeology evidence suggests that it is difference in jaw usage that is at the cause of these facial structures.
When looking at the comparison of lateral views perhaps it becomes more clear how much the jaws effect the face.
Although Katy Perry is considered quite good looking girl for majority of people, perhaps she wouldn’t have what it takes to become a super model.
Candice’s jaw development has become quite rare, estimated only 5% of modern population have it, although it was normal for our ancestors where 95% of skulls dug up exhibited these great broad structures.
This is why I do not agree with the theory thinner faces are better.
From health point of view, Candice’s facial structure allows for naturally straight teeth without orthodontics and have enough room for her wisdom teeth, and she will have better airway.
Whereas the average modern thinning faces, like Katy’s, would need some form of orthodontic intervention and wisdom teeth to be extracted. And more likely to develop some breathing issues like sleep apnea or snoring.
Small Face Beauty?
In Asia there is preference towards small faces as a sign of attractiveness.
Perhaps standard of beauty is changing in very modernized places like Japan as everyone gets affected by modern thinning effect?
My theory on it is this, they are still preferring short faces over long faces. (individuals that have enough muscle tone to keep their mouth closed at rest).
Satomi Ishihara – famous Japanese actress, considered small faced beauty.
Although her jaws may not be super model standards, she still has good piece of that horizontal mandible, which shows she has good muscle tone that limited her vertical growth and kept her facial features broad. The eyes are wide set.
Is her face small or rest of the population just getting longer?
It could be both, the skull could be getting smaller as a whole from less mastication compared to the large sturdy structures of the past but faces are also lengthening. Those that had strong enough jaws limited the vertical and this could make it seem like their faces are smaller than rest of the population. But in reality even small face beauty exhibit broad facial features.
As far as width and depth of the face, I believe these dimensions cannot be compromised or the facial beauty suffers.
when Japanese talk of small faces what they are most likely referring to is, “not long faces”.
Jaw Size and Race?
I have not found anything convincing that suggest jaw sizes have racial component.
Even in Asians, the ones that become super models have similar development to other models from different races…
Of course when we turn back time, the indigenous populations had the same exact development.
Somalia tribe individual photo taken almost a century ago. Normal development for his tribe but in modern times this individual could probably become a model.
Yes the “standard” of facial beauty could be changing as more and more populations get affected, and we are losing sight of what was the ideal.
But “true” facial beauty I believe is timeless and not open for debate. It is always towards good broad development.
Strong jaws are becoming a rare thing, because of disuse. Our amazing modern inventions has made it too easy for us to get calories and as pleasurable as possible. We humans want to gain maximum gains while minimizing effort. This naturally led to us collecting soft, high calorie foods, leading to drastic decrease in our masticatory efforts.
From comfort of living standpoint our modern food is fantastic, but over the last 200 years malocclusion has now become endemic and faces becoming less developed.
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