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Farmers’ Softer Foods May Have Changed Skull Shape

Monday, August 28, 2017

Farmers dairy skullsDAVIS, CALIFORNIA—The consumption of soft foods like cheese and other dairy products contributed to changes in the shape of the human skull, according to a report in The Telegraph. David Katz of the University of Calgary, Alberta, suggests that hunter-gatherers ate crunchy foods and gnawed meat off bones, which put stress on areas of the skull during chewing. Farmers, however, ate dairy products and grain mush, which reduced these chewing stresses. Katz and his team mapped points on more than 1,000 skulls of hunter-gatherers and farmers, and found that the temporalis muscle became smaller and changed position in the farmers’ skulls, while the upper jaws became shorter and the lower jaw became smaller. “Agriculture changed not only human culture and lifeways, but human biology as well,” he said. For more on early farmers, go to “The Neolithic Toolkit.”

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