Thursday, March 25, 2004

smaller jaw, bigger brain

A paper in the journal, Nature suggests a gene mutation that happened 2.4 million years ago, sparked a crucial leap in human evolution. the mutation resulted in weaker jaw muscles and smaller jaw. now that the skull was free from anchoring huge jaw muscle for chewing, the brain has the room to expand. this prompted ape-like hominids to evolve into the first human species.

Although the researchers themselves acknowledged that this mutation alone did not contributed to the appearance of the human species, it will be interesting to see if this could be one of the contributing factors in human evolution; climatic, ecological changes can also factor. the research direction now is to look at other possible gene mutations between humans and primates. Genetic clues can also tie in with fossil evidence.


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