MAY 01, 2019 9:16 AM PDT

Ever Wonder Why Humans Have Canine Teeth?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you look closely at the teeth in your mouth, you’ll find that you have four pointy canine teeth in between your incisors and premolars. But have you ever wondered why these teeth are the way they are?

Pro tip: they’re not for vampire-esque activities and they’re not for tearing meat as other predatory mammals with similar pointy teeth would use them for. Instead, much like our close relative the gorilla, scientists think they exist because they once played a role in mating in our primitive ancestors.

Modern-day gorillas have much larger canine teeth than humans, and we can actively observe how they use them to compete with one another for mating rights with a female. Generally, the male with the largest canine teeth wins the fight.

Obviously, modern-day humans don’t do this – or least they don’t anymore. It’s hard to say for sure whether our primitive ancestors partook in these canine tooth-centric brawls to win over a mate, but skull remnants of the first humans, Ardipithecus ramidus, reveal that our ancestors sported larger canine teeth than we have today. Mere happenstance? – Eh, that seems unlikely.

Modern humans continue to exhibit smaller and smaller canine teeth over time, which directly correlates with the fact that we don’t really need them anymore. Nevertheless, men generally have longer and sharper canine teeth than women, which offers strong evidence for the proposed theory.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 13, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 13, 2020
Disrupting Leukemia's Deadly Reliance on Vitamin B6
Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that starts in the bone marrow, where the stem cells that produce blood cells reside, and rapidly moves to the blood....
JAN 28, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 28, 2020
Protein complex discovered as first biomarker of PTSD
  Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have identified a potential d...
JAN 18, 2020
Cancer
JAN 18, 2020
What's the deal with turmeric?
Have you fallen for the turmeric craze? That little orange root that yellows your fingers when you peel it has become very popular recently for its medicin...
JAN 30, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 30, 2020
How To Choose The Right DNA Testing Kit For You
One of the most exciting scientific advancements in the past decade, at least in terms of its impact on pop culture, was the sudden accessibility of home D...
FEB 06, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 06, 2020
Concussion detector could pick up concussions in athletes, right from the sidelines
Concussions are brain traumas caused by a blow to the head or a whiplash injury. The risk of concussions are greatly heightened in athletes playing high co...
FEB 12, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
FEB 12, 2020
Insurance for Cannabis? Coverage Remains Elusive
Cannabis use can carry a variety of benefits and risks for recreational consumers, patients, doctors and businesses. And where there is risk, there is ofte...
Loading Comments...