National Geographic: Americans’ Heads Getting Bigger

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National Geographic featured a study by UT forensic anthropologists that has found American heads are getting larger. The article chronicles the evolution of human head sizes. “About 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, when agriculture took off in earnest, skulls began shrinking. The cause of the shrinkage is a mystery, but scientists have tentatively fingered more efficient brain wiring and easier access to food and safety—the idea being that people no longer had to be especially smart to survive…About ten years ago (UT’s Richard) Jantz and colleagues were measuring skeletons and saw signs that the shrinking trend may be reversing.”Richard Jantz, professor emeritus and former director of the FAC; Lee Jantz, coordinator of UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center (FAC); and Joanne Devlin, adjunct assistant professor, examined 1,500 skulls dating back to the mid-1800s through the mid-1980s. They noticed US skulls have become larger, taller, and nar­rower as seen from the front and faces have be­come sig­nif­i­cantly nar­rower and higher.

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