Posture determined the shape of our teeth
A study published in Scientific Reports shows that, starting with our oldest ancestors millions of years ago, the upright posture acquired by humans during their evolution is related to our dental occlusion.
The study, coordinated by Giorgio Manzi of the Department of Environmental Biology at Sapienza University of Rome, was conducted in collaboration with Federico II University in Naples and University of Florence.
The results of the analysis confirmed the existence of a close relationship between bipedalism and dental occlusion, refuting the widespread opinion that the latter derives from changes in the diet occurred with the use of the first tools and the use of fire.
By comparing the shape of the mandibles of extinct and living primates, the researchers found that changes in the shape of the lower jaw in our species also affected our oldest ancestors, millions of years before the appearance of tools and the discovery of fire for cooking food, even in species with different diets.
The new posture of our ancestors, which led to new structural relationships between the mandible, the neck and the skull, produced cascading effects allowing the first bipedal hominids to adapt to the consumption of tougher foods and subsequently to change their diet with increasing consumption of meat.