Anthropologists have found that the size of the teeth of hominids decreased in the course of evolution. Presumably, these changes were due to a change in diet and heat treatment of food, but the mechanism that is responsible for the reduction of teeth is practically not understood. The results of the work were published in the journal Nature.
Alistair Evans of Monash University in Australia and his colleagues compared the size of modern humans and fossilized hominid teeth to determine if the mechanism of the cascade model of growth regulation of molars in mice could be applied to humans and apes. It turned out that the canine teeth, including the milk and molars, are enlarged in Australopithecus and Paranthropes, while in hominids they are reduced.
The study authors argue that the mechanisms that influenced the evolution of teeth may also have influenced the development of the spine, chest, hands and feet. In addition, the discovery will help scientists come closer to understanding the process of human evolution.