Chinese's faces become smaller - Research
Updated: 2006-08-17 10:14

Through research, experts now conclude that humans' physical features have been evolving over the past 10,000 years and their skull and face became smaller.

The conclusion was made by scholars from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Bianjiang Archeological Research Center of the Jilin University.

Wu Xiujie, a Ph.D holder now working at IVPP announced the result at an international seminar recently held in Wushen prefecture in Inner Mongolia.

Wu said that the research team had compared 718 male skulls of the Neolithic Age, the Bronze Age and contemporary times discovered in the northern region, and found that during this period, the physical features of humans in the Holocene Quaternary (a geological period about 10,000 years from now) were still changing.

Humans' skull and face became smaller, the nose shape becomes narrower, the rim of the eye becomes higher and thinner, and the shape of the skull is rounded. From the Neolithic Age to the Bronze Age, and from the Bronze Age to contemporary time, the shape of the human skull displayed different features at different period and the changes of the skull were not all the same.

He said the fact that human skull had become smaller be attributed to factors such as climate change, human migration, different production modes (hunting, a nomadic life, or farming), and mate system. However, the definite answer has not been confirmed yet.

Scholars usually think that in the Holocene Quaternary period, the basic physical features of human skull did not have much change. For a long time in the past, experts were still not very clear about whether humans' physical features developed over the past 10,000 years; if so, how will they develop and what¡¯s the meaning of this evolutionary process.

"To some extent, the new scientific study has unveiled the mystery of human evolution process during the Holocene Quaternary period, " said Wu.