Thursday, January 26, 2006

Science News: Time Changes the Human Face

This is an interesting one: new evidence has shown that the shape of the human skull has been undergoing change over the past 650 years.

Through comparisons with 14th Century skulls and modern-day orthodontic records, researchers have discovered that our skull 'height' has increased by around 20% - making space for larger brains? The theory obviously is that we've cultivated a greater mental capacity than our ancestors - but makes you wonder exactly what we've achieved with this little bit of evolution. Intellectual progress of course - but possibly at the expense of an earlier instinctive capacity for common sense - just my theory. But you see and hear it on the streets almost every day.

I'd bet medieval humans had a head full of common sense - having to think with their wits rather than first referring to a 'How to' book, or looking it up on Google... hang on a minute, I do that every day...

Apparently we, as a species, have also far more generic facial features than our predecessors. So if we're heading in this direction now, is there eventually going to come a time when we are all carbon copies of each other, and can't find a suitably sized hat to fit our impressive melonheads?

This research conjures up images of those fantastic old sci-fi 'B' movies of invading Martians with stunted little arms and legs and huge egg-like heads... when you have superior intellect and are technologically advanced enough to render all physical tasks unnecessary - who needs to move any more? Maybe those pulp movie makers were unwitting prophets of our own not-too distance descendants - as alien to us as the Men from Mars...

Invasion of the Saucer Men...
Or our great, great, grandchildren?

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