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From bug eyes to aquiline noses, square jaws to chin dimples, no two faces are alike. That diversity may have evolved to make it easier to recognize other people, researchers reported on Tuesday.
There are many situations in which it might be evolutionarily costly to be confused with another person...
What's more, genes that have been linked to face structure vary more than DNA in other regions of the body.
This suggests that the forces of evolution have selected for facial diversity, perhaps to make individuals more recognizable to other people, the researchers say.
Sheehan's team found that most body parts are internally consistent: If a person's hand is wide, it's usually long, too. Face parts, in contrast, are not predictable. "You mix and match," Sheehan jokes, "like Mister Potato Head."
In both the modern and ancient DNA, two genes—one related to the distance between the chin and bridge of the nose, and the other to nose shape—had similar levels of variability, suggesting that facial diversity evolved before modern humans did.
That high level of genetic variability probably means that evolutionary forces are at play in shaping the diversity of faces, the authors say.
The increased genetic variability is consistent with the idea of evolution selecting for facial uniqueness, but that explanation is "hardly definitive," notes T. Ryan Gregory, a biologist at the University of Guelph in Ontario.
Genetic diversity could alternatively have arisen because of recent interbreeding of previously distinct populations, or even just by chance, he says.
"Humans are phenomenally good at recognizing faces; there is a part of the brain specialized for that," Sheehan said. "Our study now shows that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognizable. It is clearly beneficial for me to recognize others, but also beneficial for me to be recognizable. Otherwise, we would all look more similar."
A team of British scientists has shown that sheep are able to recognize the individual faces of at least 50 sheep and remember them for more than two years.
"Sheep, like humans, have specialized areas in the brain for face recognition," said Kendrick, and they have a separate system, far less specific, for dealing with the recognition of other objects, such as rocks and trees.
Are you one of those people who never forgets a face? You've got some company in the animal kingdom—the wasp. Scientists have discovered that Polistes fuscatus paper wasps can recognize and remember each other's faces with sharp accuracy, a new study suggests.
originally posted by: NoRulesAllowed
a reply to: stuthealien
Evolution HAS been "observed", you can dig a effing hole and find fossils or you can visit a museum and research your transitional species and whatever you want
However, what has not *observed* are deities and basically a majority of what the bible claims. This is why it's called BELIEF/FAITH. Because it's not observed, rather believed.
Is there evolutionary purpose to why no two human faces are exactly alike? Researchers are saying yes there is possibly an evolutionary pressure for recognition.
originally posted by: Jennyfrenzy
My best friend is an identical twin, after knowing her and her sister for over 20 years, they look nothing alike to me. Why are humans faces so unique?
originally posted by: GetHyped
originally posted by: Psynic
"My Identical twin sisters are different on the inside. One got a double left brain and the other a double right."
That doesn't sound credible. Got a source for that?
originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
a reply to: Jennyfrenzy
Nice find OP.
I think aesthetics plays an important part in evolution. Even the slightest change in appearance could rule out the chances of interbreeding and therefore strengthen the gene pool.