Wisdom Teeth have been Shrinking in size due to Evolution

Wisdom teeth has always been a misleading name, we do not know if it brings wisdom or not but surely brings pain in certain cases when the is an impaction. With Evolution, there are many changes which are seen leading to the problems arising with Wisdom teeth. With evolution, there is a decrease in size of the jaw which has further led to the impaction of Wisdom teeth which are the last to erupt and most of the growth has been completed.

Researchers have indicated a new evolutionary trend in Wisdom teeth, there is a significant change or decrease in the size of the third molars or wisdom teeth with evolution which is due to multiple factors like dietary and cultural. Early humans ‘Hominins’ had wisdom teeth that were 4 times larger than the ones in present humans.

Third molars are shrinking in size due to evolution

Similar kind of shrinking of the wisdom teeth has been seen in other smaller mammals as well, the reasons for which appear to be natural. As for the shrinkage of Wisdom teeth in humans, dietary habits have played a major role. With evolution, the food taken by humans is being cooked and is softer compared to the raw flesh and vegetables eaten earlier and this did not require such big molars to efficiently chew the food taken.

One of our ancestors, hominins, had wisdom teeth or 3rd molars approximately four times bigger than present wisdom teeth and this was confirmed after conducting several computer simulations and modeling of 3D skulls.

Researchers from Monash University have come up with a different theory called “Inhibitory cascade”. This process was explained by the¬†lead author of the study, Dr. Alistair Evans. The Wisdom teeth are forced to change their size and shape to the adjacent teeth, the change in shape of one tooth starts a chain reaction¬†or a cascade which leads to the change in size as well.

The Study added ‘Inhibitory cascade states that there will always be a balance between molar-derived inhibitors and the mesenchymal activators that influence the size of posterior molars. One tooth decides the size of the next, and that determines the size of the next, and so on and so forth’.

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