Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Study: Male Facial Development Evolved To Take Punches

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the first-rule-of-evolution-club dept.

Science 190

First time accepted submitter Joe_NoOne (48818) writes "A new theory suggests that our male ancestors evolved beefy facial features as a defense against fist fights. The bones most commonly broken in human punch-ups also gained the most strength in early hominin evolution. They are also the bones that show most divergence between males and females. From the article: 'Fossil records show that the australopiths, immediate predecessors of the human genus Homo, had strikingly robust facial structures. For many years, this extra strength was seen as an adaptation to a tough diet including nuts, seeds and grasses. But more recent findings, examining the wear pattern and carbon isotopes in australopith teeth, have cast some doubt on this "feeding hypothesis". "In fact, [the australopith] boisei, the 'nutcracker man', was probably eating fruit," said Prof David Carrier, the new theory's lead author and an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah. Instead of diet, Prof Carrier and his co-author, physician Dr Michael Morgan, propose that violent competition demanded the development of these facial fortifications: what they call the "protective buttressing hypothesis".'"

cancel ×

190 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Garbage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47195905)

EOM...

Re:Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47195959)

Shirley Manson looks like she has a pretty punchable face.

The Nose (2, Insightful)

jamesl (106902) | about 4 months ago | (#47195923)

That's why we all have such flat noses.

Re:The Nose (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47196057)

Americopithecus miketysonii?

Heh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47195941)

"Protective Buttress Face" is my new insult.

topic is sexist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47195943)

In the interest of feminism, er, I mean equality, we must acknowledge that girls, women, womyns, er, females! are just as eager to punch the ever living shit out of male faces.

Re:topic is sexist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47195957)

TFS doesn't actually say who was punching them.

Re:topic is sexist (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196017)

true equality would be them getting punched in the face.

Re:topic is sexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196055)

Whooooosh.

Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (3, Interesting)

rabun_bike (905430) | about 4 months ago | (#47195945)

Sexual selection is most likely an additional element in the facial features as it has been theorized to be one of the primary driving features of some of the physical statue difference between males and females of many different species. Hence Darwin's explanation of the ornate peacock.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47196037)

Seems like the environment would cause evolution of features to suit the environment then sexual selection would tend to exaggerate those features with an equilibrium somewhere between the two (If those long tailfeathers are causing you to get caught and eaten before you can reproduce, that's a net negative).

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47196079)

Just ask the Irish Elk about what happens if you spend all your time impressing your lady friends and none of it avoiding horrible death...

(TL;DR, you can't, because they are all dead.)

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196201)

Just ask the Irish Elk about what happens if you spend all your time impressing your lady friends and none of it avoiding horrible death...

The same is true of most body-builders, whose goal is big pretty 'mirror' muscles.

They have absolutely no flexibility, no endurance, and in the real world can lift something heavy once or twice before they're spent. Yet they walk around thinking they're the best examples of fitness.

It looks pretty in the mirror, but in the real world, those guys are pretty much pussies.

If you focus too much on the aesthetics of it, you start to defeat any evolutionary benefits it might have had.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47196245)

As best I can tell, body-building is sort of like opera singing for your muscles. It's not clear why you would want to, or why people would be interested in the result; but it is undeniably impressive what you can make a human body do if you put your mind to it.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 4 months ago | (#47196743)

Endurance is relative to work load. What's a typical triathlon competitor's endurance when carrying 500 pounds? 0. I guess that means their endurance sucks, right?

Put a triathlete in a contest carring 200 pound sacks against the guys on stage in a bodybuilding competition. He'll finish last, or near last.

When you're running, cycling, or dancing, extra muscle mass is dead weight as sure as fat. That means the people who excel in those exercises tend not to have much extra fat or much extra muscle mass. When you're pushing cars, carrying heavy sacks, throwing 40 pound tires, etc... you need all of the muscle mass you can build.

Sure, there may not be much practical value in a bodybuilder doing isolation exercises for their rear shoulder muscles, or wrist curls to increase the girth of their forearms, or neck roller moves to thicken the neck, or calf raises to increase the size of their calves. But to strengthen many of the most visible muscles on a stage - quadriceps on the thigh, gluteus in the butt, abdominal muscles, upper back, lower back, shoulders, chest, and upper arms these guys do squats, deadlifts, pullups, overhead press, and bench press. Those five exercises might be done for the sake of vanity, but the result is still plenty of practical strength.

"pretty much pussies" yeah sure.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47197227)

But to strengthen many of the most visible muscles on a stage - quadriceps on the thigh, gluteus in the butt, abdominal muscles, upper back, lower back, shoulders, chest, and upper arms these guys do squats, deadlifts, pullups, overhead press, and bench press. Those five exercises might be done for the sake of vanity, but the result is still plenty of practical strength.

"pretty much pussies" yeah sure.

Lol, exactly!

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47197195)

Did a body-builder fuck your mom or sister or something? Lot's of envy within your post.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#47196263)

Not necessarily.

I know it is painful, but think back to your Jr. High-school days 12-16 years of age. Even if you are growing up in a WASP high end neighborhood. For guys there is the urge to fight, to show your dominance and power. If you were slighted or insulted in front of people (especially the opposite sex) the urge to hit is very strong.
Now culture and proper parenting and training means kids don't always act on their instinct, but the instinct is there.

Historically this age was when men began to mate. So if you had a weak jaw and you get KO in front of the other women, chances are you are not going to pass your genetics at this time.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#47196575)

though that probably mattered way back when men were men and women were breeding machines that did as they were told.

We've moved on a bit since the days of might is right, hell... those days had already moved on since the days of might is right. Today, you're more likely to get laid by being the guy getting punched as girls tend to be very emotionally caring and empathic - one minute you're on the floor, the next you're being ooh-ed over by a bunch of girls while the bully is being told what an idiot he is.

I'm sure we have the same animal instincts and bodies to hit out, but they just don't work in the modern world.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47196927)

"... and women were breeding machines that did as they were told."

Wow, had no idea you were that old.

As for the rest, Alpha male preference in females says that's a pipe dream.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (3, Insightful)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about 4 months ago | (#47197123)

In your analysis, you seem to have overlooked the incredible reproductive advantage of being part of a society that exercise geopolitical might (e.g., US, Europe, Russia) versus being in a nation that does not exercise such might (e.g., Afghanistan, Sudan). I would also disagree with your assessment that women do not sexually favor dominant men. Dominance today doesn't necessarily mean a punch-resistant face, but women most definitely sexually favor men with who are dominant physically, intellectually, and especially financially. Women might coo and empathize with a guy who gets punched, but I don't think they'll feel compelled to have sex with him.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47197153)

You have a confused conception of history. In the bad old days, BOTH men and women were treated as slaves.

No, today we've moved on to a society that encourages individuals with little resource to manically reproduce at the expense of those intelligent enough to see the growing negative and falling positive incentives (especially for men nowadays) for doing so. It really is becoming a hypergamous idiocracy.

You're confusing empathy with sexual desire. Such guys are often friendzoned. That 'idiot' bully has probably already slept with a few of them.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

leuk_he (194174) | about 4 months ago | (#47196907)

If you broke your jaw, you not only were KO, but because you could not chew your food effective, you might loose your life. Selection....

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#47196331)

People cite sexual selection for all kinds of things, but it often just raises the question, why would that feature suddenly become selected for by the opposite sex? It seems like an convenient catch-all explanation.

If you don't understand what I mean, you might be thinking, "females preferred male features that were more masculine," but then I'd want to point out that our definition of 'masculine' is based off of men having those features. Also, in as much as animals evolve to become attractive to mates, it's also true that animals evolve to find features more or less attractive in mates. To cite another example, I've heard people claim that babies must have evolved to have cute features so that we'd take care of them, but it's a more feasible explanation to say that we're evolved to find immature features 'cute' in a way that inclined us to take care of our young.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (3, Informative)

adonoman (624929) | about 4 months ago | (#47196613)

The explanation I've heard for useless showy features (a la peacock) is that the ability to put resources into giant shiny feathers show that you have the ability to gather enough food to live, and have leftover energy to devote to impressing the ladies. It's not so much the particulars of what the feature is, but rather having resources (or money) to burn indicates that you're successful enough to be a good mate.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47196631)

It is not things that males have per se, but things that a male can show off. A classic example is a peacock's fan. A peacock does not grow its fan to be beautify but to show off Its health. It is saying that it is so fit as a bird it can waste its huge and limited resources on its frivolous tail. It is not the tail feathers but the size and balance of them that are "masculine".

Why did peahens chose tail feathers? Other birds and animals chose different traits but they tend to choose something that is expensive (in biological terms) and hard to fake. Once a trait is selected a feedback loop is established and that trait tends to get emphasized.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196723)

It is not things that males have per se, but things that a male can show off. A classic example is a peacock's fan. A peacock does not grow its fan to be beautify but to show off Its health. It is saying that it is so fit as a bird it can waste its huge and limited resources on its frivolous tail. It is not the tail feathers but the size and balance of them that are "masculine".

Why did peahens chose tail feathers? Other birds and animals chose different traits but they tend to choose something that is expensive (in biological terms) and hard to fake. Once a trait is selected a feedback loop is established and that trait tends to get emphasized.

Pretty much. Boobs are likely the same deal in humans (the breast is mostly fat the mamarry glands don't account for the visible shape of breasts). Having enough excess calories in your diet to have larger boobs and the diet to keep them from sagging is an indication of a lavish lifestyle by hunter/gather standards.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#47196829)

I understand the concept of sexual selection. My point is that sexual selection really only explains how there could be a feedback loop that causes a trait to become exaggerated, but even then it's usually just speculation. And it doesn't address the question of "why was this trait considered attractive in the first place?"

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

rabun_bike (905430) | about 4 months ago | (#47197001)

I agree. I think that is a very complex thing to determine and put one explanation on it. Without building a good animal model, all we really can do is observe and hypothesize. We can observe things like humans have enormous (off the charts) genitalia compared with other known primates. Why we have them? That's the fun of science to ponder those questions in my opinion.
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/12/average_penis_size_human_penises_are_huge_compared_to_other_primates.html

Just take head shape as another example. There are so many variations in sizes and shapes it is pretty astounding and they are changing all the time.
http://www.livinganthropologic... [livinganth...ically.com]

I don't think one thing can even come close to explaining these features which was really the who purpose of my original post. The reality is most likely "all of the above."

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47197179)

"Why was this trait considered attractive in the first place?" kind of does not matter. The choice can be arbitrary (random) as long as it is a proxy for fitness that is hard to fake and has some type of cost associated with it. Peacocks have tails; humans have square jaws and the ability to dance.

And this theory rises far above "speculation". There have been many studies on this, both in the field and the lab which have confirmed the thoery.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47196761)

> why would that feature suddenly become selected for by the opposite sex?

who says all selection is driven by female choice? You are leaving no room for choice being driven by availability. Females can only choose from amongst the males who lived long enough to mate; and even then "choice" isn't always the right word when choosing a suitor may mean he needs to fight with the one who is already claiming you and fighting all commers.

And the violence one is protected from need not even be particularly sex related. Anything that causes thinner skinned males to die before procreation at a higher rate than thicker skulled ones will do it. It would provide protection from other strikes like say... someone picking up a rock or a stick and using it as a weapon....which....I hear humans are particularly good at and want to do, perhaps our direct ancestors had such predlicictions as well?

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (0)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#47196813)

who says all selection is driven by female choice?

The person I was responding to, when he suggested this was the result of sexual selection.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 4 months ago | (#47196883)

"Masculine" traits - the topic at hand - are driven by female choice. You are pointing at the more general "fitness" traits to thrive and survive. Going back to the peacock, sometimes "masculine" traits are more important that "fitness" traits. Its tail helps it pass along its genes but also helps it in being killed by predators.

Re:Sexual selection by the opposite sex. (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about 4 months ago | (#47197045)

This occurred to me as well. Although it's possible, getting one's cheek or nose broken probably won't kill all that often. On the other hand, getting one's jaw broken or teeth broken would probably make it hard to eat. "Lopsided face" resulting from a good punching would likely prevent one from getting laid for sure.

Limits of incremental change or other constraints? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47195953)

I realize that you evolve with the genome you have, not the genome you might want or wish to have at a later time; but even with a bit of incremental up-armoring the human face seems like kind of a dreadful mess when it comes to fist-fighting prowess. Lots of relatively poorly anchored teeth, plenty of well-vascularized soft tissue, some of it of considerable sensory importance (like the squishy, squishy, eyeballs, conveniently also located in two of the big holes in the skull, where there is little more than goo and connective tissue between your brain and the wide, horrible, world...

Is this just because "radically alter facial morphology" isn't one of those things you evolve even remotely quickly, or without changing a hell of a lot of genes, some of which have other functions, or do we suspect that there are competing constraints working against, or at least limiting, the degree that masculinized facial features are allowed to make you look like some sort of bio-tank?

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#47196093)

I realize that you evolve with the genome you have, not the genome you might want or wish to have at a later time;

Say that again and I'll punch you ;-) ........ or should that be [;=))]

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196279)

You as an individual do NOT evolve. You are the same as you were when you were born. Species evolve, not individuals.

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | about 4 months ago | (#47196299)

one obvious constraint would be the importance of facial expression in human interactions. How many facial muscles are purely mimic? I'd say most of them.
Eyeballs are not that squishy and one could argue that that deep eyesockets are actually protective - it's rather unlikely to do damage to eyes when the surrounding bone takes the hit, especially with a fist. The nose looks like a bad design though.

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47196365)

Actually there's a bone plate between the eye sockets and the brain cavity - it's still one of the weak points, but it's not completely unarmored.

As for the comparative weakness of the face, I'm inclined to agree, but it also seems that resisting punches was a fairly transient evolutionary force. Consider that it probably didn't take long, evolutionarily speaking, between the invention of the punch and the adoption of the club as a force-multiplier that would have rendered minor skeletal fortifications relatively useless. As for all the squishy tissue - unlike bone it tends to heal fairly quickly with little functional long-term consequence, with the exception of the eyes which are largely protected from impact by something as large as a fist, and would have been even more protected in our ancestors with a more protruding brow and deep-set eyes.

There's also the fact that we're probably talking about primarily ritual combat - the kind where both parties are simply attempting to assert dominance, rather than actually do any lasting injury. Serious combat would break out the clubs, but high-stakes combat tends to be selected against within a population - after all your rival is also a member of your tribe, hurt him too badly and the whole tribe suffers. So fortification would be relevant primarily in terms of insuring against accidental severe damage when your opponent is primarily attempting to simply inflict pain.

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196549)

I realize that you evolve with the genome you have, not the genome you might want or wish to have at a later time; but even with a bit of incremental up-armoring the human face seems like kind of a dreadful mess when it comes to fist-fighting prowess. Lots of relatively poorly anchored teeth, plenty of well-vascularized soft tissue, some of it of considerable sensory importance (like the squishy, squishy, eyeballs, conveniently also located in two of the big holes in the skull, where there is little more than goo and connective tissue between your brain and the wide, horrible, world...

Is this just because "radically alter facial morphology" isn't one of those things you evolve even remotely quickly, or without changing a hell of a lot of genes, some of which have other functions, or do we suspect that there are competing constraints working against, or at least limiting, the degree that masculinized facial features are allowed to make you look like some sort of bio-tank?

The size and number of teeth are placed on different parts of the genome. It used to be that people didn't travel very far or mate beyond a small gene pool, so the teeth all kind of fit together pretty well. Now, we get people with tiny little Asian jaws and huge Nordic teeth, and all sorts of other strange mixes. A lot of our modern problems with dentistry come from the fact that we travel so much, and breed outside of a small area. Not that I'm suggesting we should go back or anything...

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196825)

Even with our much more moderate skull structures today, it's very rare (relatively) to sustain severe eye damage from punches. You pretty much have to break the orbital first. As far as injuries that mean you're probably going to die, their weakness is poking attacks with tools which probably wasn't that common. (I doubt too many guys back then did the Blade Runner thumbs-in-both-eye-sockets attack, and you can survive with just one eye.)

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (1)

radtea (464814) | about 4 months ago | (#47196937)

Is this just because "radically alter facial morphology" isn't one of those things you evolve even remotely quickly, or without changing a hell of a lot of genes, some of which have other functions, or do we suspect that there are competing constraints working against, or at least limiting, the degree that masculinized facial features are allowed to make you look like some sort of bio-tank?

Because of the degree of randomness in evolution by variation and natural selection, there are very few limits imposed by the incremental nature of the process. Random steps can take a locally deleterious feature a long way "up hill" in terms of fitness before it gets lost entirely from the population, and that process may well carry it over into a new local minimum that was deeper than the one it drifted out of.

That said, there are quite likely strong constraints on facial morphology that put limits on armouring. The human face is extremely important as a communications device, and remember: selection is driven by the differential probability of getting laid and creating successful offspring (where "successful" means... "getting laid and...")

So for example, blood flow in the face is a very important communications tool. There is reason to believe that the whole point of human's red/green colour acuity is so that we are maximally sensitive to variations in blood flow in each others' skins, particularly in the face. So variations that substantially reduced that already-subtle signalling channel would plausibly reduce the chance of those individuals getting laid.

Likewise, facial flexibility and mobility are important aspects of communication between humans (and likely proto-humans), and so on. Because we are by nature social primates, the effective communication goes beyond simple mate competition, too: the ability to form viable troops, work together cooperatively, etc, all will affect the individual's reproductive fitness, particularly when kin-selection is factored in (my genes will go on if my siblings and cousins are successful at mating, even if I am not, so my contributions to their success matters in the evolutionary process.) [Of course, there are also completely kooky speculative ideas about group selection, which are fun to play with: http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-... [amazon.com]

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about 4 months ago | (#47196939)

Only seems weak because we live soft lives and never really fully "develop" into men these days. Most modern males have pretty weak jaws and faces (overbites no room for wisdom teeth etc) not due to heredity but instead environment. If you actually let kids use their jaws to chew stuff instead of cutting everything up and swapped out much of the carb load for more fat and protein you'd see a dramatic change in the populations facial structure. We'd look more like native americans who have stronger features.

Re:Limits of incremental change or other constrain (2)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47196973)

You're greatly underestimating the human body. There are documented instances of humans taking on bulls, leopards and even a tiger, one on one without weapons and winning. We also have a vastly superior brain allowing us to project a bull's trajectory and sidestep it or, as the Minoans did, literally take it by the horns and use its goring actions to flip us up, somersault and land behind it safely. We're not nearly as soft as you seem to believe.

Evolutionary history b.s.? (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 months ago | (#47195963)

A new theory suggests that our male ancestors evolved beefy facial features as a defense against fist fights.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about these theories, but they just keep on striking me as mental masturbation by a sub-field that needs to have B.S. called on the lot of them.

AFAIK, we can only make wildly speculative guesses as to the lifestyles of these creatures. And that will probably be forever true. So unless we find cave drawings of an extensive face-punching meritocracy within these families, it's probably wild speculation as to whether or not it was a relevant factor in the evolution of these features.

This isn't science.

Re:Evolutionary history b.s.? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47196123)

You want to avoid delving into 'just so stories', or flattering a particular cultural quirk with the status of 'universality' ("Y'know why pink is a girl color, and chicks naturally like it? Because they, like, evolved to judge the ripeness of fruits that they were gathering! Oh, wait, you mean that the association between young girls and pink and young boys and blue is actually a century or two old? Umm, never mind...); but you can infer things about lifestyle and social interaction from archeological evidence.

Undamaged bone, bone that has experienced substantial unhealed trauma (ie. that trauma was part of whatever killed the bone's owner before any healing occurred), and bone that was damaged; but subsequently healed, all look quite different if they are in reasonably well-preserved shape.

If a fossil record is adequately detailed across time, changes in skeletal structure are also quite discernable, and isotopic analysis can help determine whether those changes were driven by dietary demands, or whether they occurred for unrelated reasons.

There is no certainty to be had, and there are pitfalls to avoid; but it's hardly a morass of nescience.

Re:Evolutionary history b.s.? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 4 months ago | (#47196127)

I don't find it nearly as far-fetched as you do. Do you realize how likely you'd be to die from a fractured jaw back in those times? Today we have surgery, drugs, etc. to repair these things in (relatively) short order - back then you just starved to death because you couldn't eat. Does survival make enough of a "meritocracy" for you (whatever the hell "merit" has to do with evolution)?

This is no more highly speculative than the other work by folks who try to figure out what dinosaurs looked like based on partial skeletons and what pressures drove their evolution in this direction. But, if you don't accept that work either, guess what? Science doesn't care.

Re:Evolutionary history b.s.? (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47196301)

You might be right or wrong, but you have no way of knowing without at least understanding the research and specifically addressing the points they make. You're not going to take the time to read the paper, let alone acquire the necessary background to understand it, and neither am I. Know-nothings tossing out hunches on an Internet forum, now that is mental masturbation.

soo (1, Flamebait)

Kuberz (3568651) | about 4 months ago | (#47195969)

Are you saying that Men are inherently more able to take a punch than a woman? That's sexist.

Re:soo (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 4 months ago | (#47196027)

Not just punch. Vodka, whiskey, beer as well. It all depends on the body mass.

Re:soo (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47197071)

And? Sometimes sexism is true. Men *can* take a punch better. More muscle mass with a different structure and heavier bones. If an average man punches a average woman in the chest, she will move backwards. If he punches an equal weight man in the chest, not so much. If the same woman punches the same man in the chest, she'll be the one moving. It's called physics. And if you want to counter by pulling some highly trained woman into the scenario, I get to use Bruce Lee.

Re:soo (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47197211)

Actually it is. It's ok to discriminate based on sex. Doctors do it all the time because of differing physiology. Women also have different clothing because of their breasts and hips. It's ok to be different. It's called diversity. The problems start when certain political ideologues decide what parts of diversity should be celebrated and what parts should be penalized as oppressive.

Oh bugger... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 4 months ago | (#47195983)


Of course I read this after my sandwich was late.

Sorry, sweetie...

designed by violence (2, Interesting)

hirundo (221676) | about 4 months ago | (#47196015)

I heard another theory on the way that violence has influenced our evolution. It was suggested that opposable thumbs were favored because they make some apes like ourselves capable of forcible rape, unlike most animals. The success of forcible rape as a breeding strategy led to the differential survival of more violent, impulsive men and more submissive (more likely to survive rape) women who ovulate monthly. And this male aggression has led to homo sapiens becoming earth's dominant megafauna. So if true, on evolutionary time scales the optimal amount of violence to promote species survival is greater than zero.

This is depressing in proportion to its plausibility.

designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196147)

Survival of the hittest?

Re:designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196161)

Forcible rape is far from rare in the animal world.

Source: years of raising chickens

Re:designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196215)

Forcible rape is far from rare in the animal world.

Source: years of raising chickens

Geez, dude. What the hell are you doing raping chickens?

Re:designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196219)

Well who the hell is raping your chickens?

(Not me.)

Re:designed by violence (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47196415)

You think chickens are bad, you should see ducks. Ponds need to be either quite deep or very shallow or else the females have a fair chance of drowning while being gang-raped on the water. And female ducks, at least some species, have actually developed some adaptations so that rape is unlikely to cause fertilization.

Re:designed by violence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196179)

I heard another theory on the way that violence has influenced our evolution. It was suggested that opposable thumbs were favored because they make some apes like ourselves capable of forcible rape, unlike most animals. The success of forcible rape as a breeding strategy led to the differential survival of more violent, impulsive men and more submissive (more likely to survive rape) women who ovulate monthly. And this male aggression has led to homo sapiens becoming earth's dominant megafauna. So if true, on evolutionary time scales the optimal amount of violence to promote species survival is greater than zero.

This is depressing in proportion to its plausibility.

And why would that be depressing to you? It's reality.

Guess how we keep people from being violent in "civilization"? With threats of greater violence from "society". Hell, we don't even limit ourselves to the use of violence and the threat of violence against only violence, either. You can be totally peaceful and the most wonderful person on the planet, but just fail to pay your taxes and eventually some constabulary will appear and use violence or the threat of violence to lock you up.

Re:designed by violence (2)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47196191)

that sounds like something you'd find on a tumblr post.

Re:designed by violence (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47196223)

Why do you need thumbs for raping?

Plenty of species without hands get their rape on to a degree that makes A Clockwork Orange look like Saturday morning cartoons. Ducks, just by way of example, are so nasty that the evolution of their genital morphology is basically an arms race, with female reproductive tracts getting ever longer and more convoluted, and males developing ever more grotesque Cthulhoid horror-phalluses in an attempt to not let that stop them. ("Explosive eversion and functional morphology of the duck penis supports sexual conflict in waterfowl genitalia" is always a good read if you suspected nature of harboring any traces of benevolence...)

Re:designed by violence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196485)

Why do you need thumbs for raping?

Plenty of species without hands get their rape on to a degree that makes A Clockwork Orange look like Saturday morning cartoons. Ducks, just by way of example, are so nasty that the evolution of their genital morphology is basically an arms race, with female reproductive tracts getting ever longer and more convoluted, and males developing ever more grotesque Cthulhoid horror-phalluses in an attempt to not let that stop them. ("Explosive eversion and functional
morphology of the duck penis supports sexual conflict in waterfowl genitalia" is always a good read if you suspected nature of harboring any traces of benevolence...)

Just. Damn. [royalsocie...ishing.org] :

... Eversion of the 20 cm muscovy duck penis is explosive, taking an average of 0.36 s, and achieving a maximum velocity of 1.6 m s1. ...

A 15 lb/7 kg duck has a 20 cm or > 8 inch dick.

Makes me wonder where the name "wood duck" comes from...

Re:designed by violence (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196513)

Something something patriarchy! Something something rape culture!

Re:designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196693)

Something something Dark Side.

Re:designed by violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196753)

/tumblr'd

"Forcible rape" Re:designed by violence (1)

ayesnymous (3665205) | about 4 months ago | (#47197085)

I heard another theory on the way that violence has influenced our evolution. It was suggested that opposable thumbs were favored because they make some apes like ourselves capable of forcible rape, unlike most animals. The success of forcible rape ...

Is "forcible rape" another category of rape like "legitimate rape"?

Hypothesis is nuts (3, Interesting)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#47196031)

(I see what I did there in the title).

If this made sense at all, after a few rounds of Rochambeau v. 2 [urbandictionary.com] , we'd all have developed a massive testicular protection layer too.

Re:Hypothesis is nuts (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47196217)

Not necessarily true. First a hit to the testicles is not fatal and secondly not that likely to induce infertility....you do have two of them. If a few rounds of rochambeau would do it, our species would have died out long ago. In fact, as far as I can tell, no male who grew up with a little sister or brother would be able to procreate.

Secondly, the pain, while large compared to many, is nothing that can't be overcome by the adrenalin levels present during a real fight. A lot less men are going to be dropped to the ground in crippling pain should you kick them in the nads during a battle than, say.... if you ran up behind them on the street. (after the adrenalin wears off is another story)

Thats not to say don't ever kick a man in the nads during a fight, it might work and shit, sometimes you gotta hit what is open... I wouldn't expect to you should learn that and rely on it as your unstoppable finishing move technique though.

OTOH hits to the face can do a lot of hard to repair damage. Even with all this armor I have heard of people having their orbital collapsed with one punch....still look at some of those other ape skulls and realize theirs are a lot more exposed, thinner, and less well reinforced.

Frankly, I would put an ape up against a human in a fight any day on raw stength and speed, but, I bet a human boxer still wins a singificant enough portion of the time just with a devsatating first punch to the face.

Re:Hypothesis is nuts (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#47196335)

ummm... some of us never developed a WHOOOOOOSH detector either, apparently.

Re:Hypothesis is nuts (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47197025)

Perhaps, but I have also run into people who have actually expressed the idea that they have no need to really learn how to fight or defend themselves because they know how to kick a guy in the nuts and if it ever comes down to it, they will do that and run.

In truth, they may be right, but only because its unlikely they will need to do it, not because its a particularly effective technique.

Re:Hypothesis is nuts (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47197147)

It's not. Male humans have a pretty good reflex for snapping the dominant knee inward to block said kick. Done correctly, by the way, the knee will then shatter the metatarsals.

If Evolution is true... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196111)

If Evolution is true then why the fuck are there so many ugly people?

Re:If Evolution is true... (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 4 months ago | (#47196173)

If you think they're bad, you should see the even uglier people who never had kids!

Re:If Evolution is true... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196175)

beer

Re:If Evolution is true... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47196517)

1) Ugliness is largely a cultural construct rather than biological, so the parameters can change quite quickly, and the more ridiculously demanding our ideals, the fewer beautiful people exist. Consider how a sturdily built women went from being attractive to being "fat" in the last century. In the early 1900s there were copious advertisements for various supplements a skinny woman could take to acquire a more well-padded and attractive figure.

2) Ugliness only moderately reduces your likeliness of breeding. A fertile female is unlikely to ever fail to mate if she so desires, beauty only increases the number and quality of suitors. Meanwhile for a male in a survival situation being able to provide protein and defense is likely going to be far more attractive than a pretty face. Remember that before modern medicine a woman was risking her life, and the lives of her existing children, every time she became pregnant - her instincts would thus likely be tuned to find survival-enhancing traits attractive, and to have a fairly high bar at that.

Re:If Evolution is true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196775)

In the early 1900s there were copious advertisements for various supplements a skinny woman could take to acquire a more well-padded and attractive figure.

The change was the invention of breast implants and liposuction.

Time was you aimed for "hourglass" figure by bulking up and reigning it in with corsetry, now you do it by staving yourself and getting implants (or bulking up and getting the midsection fat sucked out periodically).

The basic rule of "big breasts, narrow waist, big-ass" hasn't changed much over history, just the recommended method of attaining it and what sort of "close miss" is preferable have depended on culture and technology.

Re:If Evolution is true... (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about 4 months ago | (#47197015)

In all seriousness... modern diet and lifestyle. Pre-agriculture man was tall and healthy compared to the little people that populated the world prior to the mid 20th century. Well, the ones that lived. Take a look at some of the early french paintings with plains indians and frenchmen in the same scene. It's pretty laughable. Europeans looked like stunted children next to them.

What??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196141)

So what I'm hearing is they have no idea what they are talking about but after looking at some bones and isotopes they decided that they got punched in the face more? And how much more "funding" do they need?

Re:What??? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#47196543)

Really, how horribly wasteful to fund research into our distant history. By pulling the funding from only a few dozen such researchers you could afford another idiot chasing a ball around a field.

Sounds gynocentric (2)

drolli (522659) | about 4 months ago | (#47196185)

"Yes officer, he was meant to be beaten"

Justin Bieber (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 4 months ago | (#47196211)

He must be the non plus ultra of evolutionary progress, since never has there been a face so in need of being punched.

hrm.. (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47196231)

I hate to break it to you but women didn't have any historical protection from punches. In fact, I'm willing to bet women were punched far more often than men until recently.

Re:hrm.. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#47196529)

Sure they did, brothers and fathers.

I was reading an article of someone who was investigating an old legal myth (I think it was the "rule of thumb") and one of the amusing side notes in the article was that while its very true there are scarce few examples of any husband being charged with a crime for beating his wife (and no evidence of such a "rule of thumb") there was one thing that did stand out from the criminal records: The number of brothers charged with beating their sister's husbands.

More evidence... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 months ago | (#47196251)

... That nerds are not human. Their faces are not evolved this way at all: when punched they either come apart like wet feces or deflate like balloons filled with offal. There are good reasons punches are not used on nerds anymore since a long time. Body blows, arms twisting and headbashings have been the preferred way to deal with the subhuman geeks for years now, although more creative - and definitive - ways are being developed.

yet another reason to fear them. (2)

nimbius (983462) | about 4 months ago | (#47196271)

Jay Leno: clearly developed offensive chin to return punishing blows to his opponent
Gary Busey: long forehead designed to absorb impact, but also more importantly channel telekenetic messages to ice tray full of cream cheese across room

Isn't this still true of Australopiths? (1, Troll)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#47196289)

Facial bones designed to withstand punches, and their language having over four hundred different words for 'vomit'.

Study: Male Facial Development Evolved To Take Pun (1)

danielpauldavis (1142767) | about 4 months ago | (#47196333)

It couldn't possibly be that the skull was designed to protect the brain, oh no.

No such luck in King's Landing (3, Funny)

cellocgw (617879) | about 4 months ago | (#47196381)

If only the Red Viper had a more punch-resistant face, eh?

now that's what I call an intelligent design. (1)

steak (145650) | about 4 months ago | (#47196405)

TroLLOLOlllloLOlLololOol!!!!

What about hands? (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 4 months ago | (#47196551)

Does that also mean that male hands developed in a way that they could better absorb the impact of a punch?

What about nuts? It seems to me that we should have developed "stone-nads" to better absorb the impact of a kick in the nuts. I guess that evolution is still in progress :-)

Re:What about hands? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196843)

Perhaps a good offense really is the best defense. You just need to punch the other guy out before he can kick you in the balls. Then you get the girl, reproduce, and (as far as evolution is concerned) your balls don't matter anymore.

Pull it out baby. (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 4 months ago | (#47196707)

There's nothing like pulling a steamy pile of shit out of your ass, and getting paid for it to boot!

Current apes? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 4 months ago | (#47196799)

Current apes fight also, so why don't they have such features? I suspect it's because apes tend to fight by pushing and kicking more so than slugging: they wrestle.

Re:Current apes? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#47196941)

Human hand structure seems to be particularly suited to making a strong fist [economist.com] . So the development of homo sapiens facial/skull bone structure capable of withstanding impact does make sense. Other primates possess much greater arm strength than humans. So in a fight, a human would almost certainly come out on the losing end. One recommendation applicable to most animal/human conflicts: If a fight is inevitable, punch the animal in the nose. Its a move that none of them expect. And if it doesn't work, you are probably dead anyway.

Re:Current apes? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 4 months ago | (#47197173)

And when they strike, they pound, not punch.

And here's the proof (2)

coinreturn (617535) | about 4 months ago | (#47196849)

I will punch the researchers in the face and see how evolved they are.

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47196865)

Nonsense. God created us the way we are 6000 years ago. Watch Kent Hovinds movies to understand why creation is scientifically accurate.

Justin Bieber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47197099)

Many people would say that Justin Bieber is a prime example.

(Capcha word is repulse).

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?