Chin of my fathers

Homo sapiens have a few anatomical features that make them easily distinguishable from other hominids.  Perhaps the easiest for a non expert to spot is in the jaw, specifically, the chin. Which might explain this:

(Fox News with my apologies) — Cosmetic surgery to make the chin look more prominent has soared in popularity in the course of a year, making it the fastest growing trend among men and women, US plastic surgeons said Monday.Chin implants are particularly popular among those over 40, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

A total of 10,593 men had the operation done in 2011, a 76 percent increase over the prior year, and 10,087 women had the procedure, a 66 percent rise — for a combined total of 71 percent.

It makes sense that humans like strong chins, we have strong chins, but our closest extant and extinct relatives had none. Chimps, neanders et al, they have a simian shelf; a ridge of bone facing inward, likely developed under selective pressure arising from a powerful bending moment when hard foodstuff was under one set of molars on one side but not the other, the kind of force that could snap a mandible in half if it wasn’t robust. Some anthropologists also say a simian shelf interferes with the tongue, restricting the number of ways it can modulate the voice box. If so we owe speech, in part, to our unique evolutionary innovation over the shelf.

Anatomically moderns humans have an outward facing button of bone that serves the same purpose, our modern chin. Since we have chins, it stands to reason chins are and were popular, that they were selected for, and that people with chins were attracted to mates with chins. Ergo, the foxy jawline is born, so handsome and appealing we like it to some degree in both men and women.

And, gentle readers, I happen to have some personal experience on this to share: I had a chin implant, back before it was all the rage, when I was a vain, body-sculpting metrosexual trendsetter. I went into a plastic surgeon to see about touching up an old scar on the side of my head and came out with some new parts all around. Trust me on this: people treat you differently based on how you look, in my experience a strong chin is a big part of that difference, and of all the things I had done (OK, I know you want to know so here it is: endrobrow lift, hair removal around eyebrows and ears, several moles removed, face peel, lipo all around) the chin has held up better over the years, as fresh and new as the day the swelling from the $14,000 full body maiming I endured finally went down.

If it looks good today, it probably looked good 150,000 years ago at the dawn of modern humanity.


  1. Stevarious says

    Is it coincidence that you post this while the link to your picture on the right is broken?

  2. says

    It’s always been broken. I cannot gravatar to work. But a recent pic is posted at DK on the about page. They didn’t implant a witches chin or anything, it was only a little weak, and now it’s only a little strong. It looks perfectly normal.

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