37. Our Jaws Are Smaller
Consider the foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate upwards of 10,000 years ago. They ate meat – which may have been uncooked – and tough, fibrous plants. To cope with the pressure of chewing those foods, their jaws were more massive, and they had bigger face muscles. While large jaw examples like the Hapsburg jaw are incredibly dramatic to our modern eyes, our distant human relatives probably also looked quite heavy in the jaw. While it is almost unthinkable now, eating once took an inordinate amount of effort, not only in finding food but in the strength required to consume it.
Today, most of our food is quite soft, except for potato chips and the occasional raw vegetable sticks. As a result, our jaws are smaller, and our face muscles are not nearly as well-developed. When is the last time you can remember having to work to chew up food? Our steaks are tender, most of our snack foods melt in your mouth, and nuts and raw vegetables are surprisingly expensive and therefore difficult for many to eat regularly. It is worth questioning if our current diet of soft foods allows for easier overconsumption than foods that would eventually tire the jaw.