Changing Traits: Why more of us are being born without wisdom teeth
AROUND a third of Europeans don’t develop wisdom teeth. This is thought to be due to a genetic mutation, millions of years ago, which led to a shorter jaw (the evolutionary advantage of this was to give more space for the developing brain).
Dr Michael Berthaume, a research associate at the department of bioengineering at Imperial College London, says: "Over time our jaws have become smaller still as we chew less. About a third of people are born without wisdom teeth, a third need them removed and in a third they develop fine."
And some ethnic groups have less chance of developing them than others. Almost no Aboriginal Tasmanians develop wisdom teeth – and that’s thought to be due to a random mutation to the gene that controls the number of teeth we have.
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