It is unbelievable but true that our ancestors were way smarter than us when it came to wooing the opposite sex for mating. According to a new study, Neanderthals learned how to smile and make expressive faces in order to attract less aggressive mates.
A team of scientists is claiming that the kindness humans can show via facial expression was a key factor in our evolution.
Researchers from the University of Milan focused on genetic samples from Neanderthals, Which showed that gene mutation might have lead humans to “self-select list aggressive mating partners”.
This behaviour finally led to the “self-domestication” of ancient humans. The study suggests that modern humans domesticated themselves after they split from their extinct relatives ‘Neanderthals and Denisovans’ approximately 600,000 years ago, reported sciencemag.org citing the study published in Science Advances.
Guiseppe Testa, molecular biologist at the University of Milan Italy, and colleagues knew that one gene, BAZ1B, plays an important role in orchestrating the moments of neural crest cells. Most people carry two copies of this gene.
Significantly, one copy of BAZ1B is missing in people with Williams-Beuren syndrome, a disorder linked to cognitive impairments and extreme friendliness. Genetic data was gathered from human steam sales taken from the remains of two Neanderthals and one Denisovan. These two groups of prehistoric ancestors live around the same time.
The specific gene BAZ1B, which is believed to be highly influential on human facial expression and is the gene that allows dogs to make their eyes expressive in a way wolves cannot. “It is thought that selected breathing patterns of some Neanderthals led to the BAZ1B and could have contributed to Homo sapiens developing distinctively expressive faces.”
When the researchers looked at hundreds of BAZ1B-sensitive genes, they found that in modern humans, those genes had accumulated loads of regulatory mutations of their own. This suggests natural selection was shaping them. According to The Sun, Williams-Beuren syndrome causes humans to have what some people perceive as an expression with a wide mouth and a small nose.