Male Faces Evolved to Be Punched

The classically handsome strong male jawline may have evolved not to be admired but to withstand a strong hit. The new “protective buttressing hypothesis” suggests men’s faces evolved to handle fistfights. Looking at fossil records, researchers at the University of Utah say the jaw, cheek, eye, and nose structures—the parts of your face most likely to get damaged by a punch—are the ones that benefitted the most from evolutionary protections. These are also the facial features that show the greatest difference between men and women. Prof. David Carrier said: “In humans and in great apes in general... it’s males that are most likely to get into fights, and it’s also males that are most likely to get injured.” The analysis is far from conclusive and other scientists are unlikely to pull their punches. Still, it’s a pugnacious challenge to the previous theory that our faces evolved for eating.