Evolution of the Face3

Dimitrije E. Panfilov

God created the world. And part of this world was Charles Darwin. I feel free to respect both: God and evolution.

We are unable to understand that our earth is 4.5 billion years old. How long is that? Brian Bates and John Cleese have compressed the history of the earth into just 1 year. Life appears relatively early on the earth: on 14 February. That is Valentine's Day.

  1. The first living beings were bacteria, as almost the whole earth was under water. Some 580 million years ago there were shapeless conglomerates of cells like swimming tubes. The next 10 months were pretty boring - no big changes happened.
  2. The second step was pikaia. Some 520 million years ago would be 15 November in our calendar! It was a small animal on the ground of the sea like a tube with only one opening. It was the mouth as the first part of the face!
  3. At the end of November there came pikaia's late descendant - conodont. It was 5 cm long and had two zones of light-sensitive cells aside the mouth. These were like the rudiments of eyes; later come traces of ears.
  4. On 25 November came sacambapsis, which was 10 cm long and was like fish a scaly anteater. It had miniature gills through which it could distinguish smells. Some 430 million years ago the next part of the body was the jaw - which first was immovable and later movable.
  5. The next animal, acanthodian, was a fish with a movable jaw. Thereafter the nose developed as did teeth on the jaws to increase the efficiency of food utilization.
  6. It is 2 December - the first animal, Acanthostega, 1 m long, is able to go ashore, life is coming out of the water. The first reptile has legs and two small nose openings. The air has much more oxygen than water and is a very good energy supplier.
  7. These reptiles grew bigger until they had gigantic bodies - we have now species of dinosaurs. All their teeth were of the same magnitude and shape - so they could bite and swallow.
  8. The next step was dimetrodon. This big animal was similar to dinosaurs but it had two different
Fig. 3.1. Reptiles, fish, and birds have a stretched face because of elongated jaws. From their faces we cannot read their age

sorts of teeth: one to bite and the other to chew. From dinosaurs, birds developed in later evolution and from dimetrodon, mammals and humans developed.

9. The first mammal, megazostrodon, appears not earlier than 17 December of our evolutionary year. It is the first homoiothermic animal; all the animals before were poikilotherms. It looked like a shrew with big eyes and ears with hair on the head and its jaws were much more flexible than those of any animal before. Because of homoiothermy it did not have a shell but always had thinner skin which isolated the thermic regulation with fur skin. The arrival of mammals on the earth is the birthday of mimetic expressions! Mammals bring live descendants to the world which can get food in the first period of their life only by sucking. To survive, babies had to develop muscles around their mouths - sharpen the lips was the first mimetic expression ever!

Fig. 3.2. Homo australopithecus, Homo neandertalis, and Homo sapiens as they might have looked
Fig. 3.4. Probable changes that took place during evolution

10. Mammals grew bigger and jumped onto trees where they were safe and found a lot of food. It is Christmas Day-25 December - the first primates appear. The first of them was aegyptopithecus, not bigger than a cat. The first mammals mostly ate insects, and primates mostly ate fruits and leaves. To be able to chew effectively, their jaws became shorter.

3 Evolution of the Face 9

Evolutionary "shrinkage" of the face Fi|g;";. Evolutionary''shrinkage-

Approximative Skull to Face Volume Ratio Homo australopithecus 1:1 Homo sapiens 2:1

11. It is New Year's Eve, 31 December, 6:24 a.m. The first homo erectus we know was a woman called "Lucy". Palaeontologists excavating her skeleton in Ethiopia listening to the song "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" by the Beatles and they gave her this name. The brain of upright man took more space in the growing skull, which caused shrinkage of the face. Another reason for this process was the fact that the teeth and jaws of homo erec-tus became smaller, probably because the mouth was not needed as a weapon or tool for grasping food anymore. For those purposes our ancestor could use his hands!

The eyes came to the frontal side of the head to allow binocular vision and determination of distance. Between the eyes and mouth arouse something very human - the prominent nose. The face lost its hair - it is much easier to "read" somebody's feelings from a hairless face than if it is covered by hair. The white sclera of eyes makes it possible to determine where the other person is looking, to what she/he is paying attention! Sclera in primates is dark!

12. This is our last step - we should hurry up and fill our glasses with champagne - it is 23:37 p.m. on 31 December: Homo sapiens steps onto the stage. Actually this moment is 200,000 years ago. Since that time humans have not stopped making successively love and war. Our DNA is today 98% identical with that of a chimpanzee. And still we cannot expect monkeys to feel guilty because humans originated from them. And humans have not stopped asking themselves for 200,000 years - was there nothing before and is there nothing after life? That is why we have our brains.

Fig. 3.6. The French painter La Calas has compared profiles of two mammals documenting relative facial reduction in humans

Just a few minutes before midnight humans began to speak. It is comforting that probably the first word ever spoken was "mom".

We can see that almost the whole evolution of the face was the history of the mouth. Knowing this, we will pay attention to this mosaic stone of the face when we try to search for more harmony of the outer appearance of human beings.

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