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Pop Culture

Video breaks down why early humans had naturally straight teeth and we don't

Thanks, innovation!

crooked teeth
Ted-Ed/Youtube

Technology isn't everything.

Crooked teeth is a very, very common occurrence in our modern world. Nine out of ten people have at least some misalignment going on in their mouths. Over 4 million people wear braces in the United States alone. I don’t know about you, but I can still feel the utter sticker shock from my own teeth-straightening journey. (I call it a “journey” so it feels a little more whimsical and less devastating.)

And yet, this is not something our ancestors dealt with. Like…at all. How could it be that no one experienced this normal modern-day conundrum in a time when we had exponentially less technological advancement?

As it turns out, technology might be the culprit, and a video from Ted-Ed explains it all.

The prevailing theory in the scientific community is that millions of years ago, when humans were hunter-gatherers, their teeth had to work extra hard to grind down seeds, fruit, meat, etc., and make them digestible.

When humans began incorporating tools, food was broken down before it even entered the mouth. It only became more refined and easier to chew with the introduction of agriculture, followed by the innovations of the Industrial Revolution.

In a relatively short amount of time (12,000 years), teeth were basically relieved of most of their “pulverizing duties.” And while teeth were initially able to adapt to the gradual evolution of culinary changes, things simply changed too quickly to keep up. Over time, jaws have reduced in size much more quickly than our teeth have, leading to overcrowding and some…unique dental arrangements.

This also helps explain why wisdom teeth are such a pain. By the time these final molars come out, there is simply no room left in the mouth for them. This is why many people need them surgically removed in order to prevent discomfort or infection.

This theory has been tested on animals like spider monkeys and lyraxes, who were given naturally tough foods and artificially softened foods. Sure enough, the critters with the softer foods also developed narrower jaws, and more crooked teeth.

Bottom line: this issue has a lot more to do with lifestyle than anything genetic. Which is why different people in different parts of the world don’t deal with dental crowding at all, and even have room for wisdom teeth. Knowing this might not stop us from eating softer foods—it’s certainly not gonna make me give up warm gooey cookies any time soon, perfect smile and zero cavities be damned—but it’s certainly something to chew on.

You can watch the full video, based on a lesson by dental anthropologist G. Richard Scott, below:

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Want out of a relationship rut? The Three hour night might be the perfect solution.

Almost every long term relationship suffers from a rut eventually. That goes especially for married partners who become parents and have the added responsibility of raising kids. Maintaining a connection is hard enough in this busy, fast paced world. Top it off with making sure kids are awake, dressed, entertained, well fed, oh yeah, and alive…and you best believe all you have energy for at the end of the day is sitting on the couch barely making it through one episode on Netflix.

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This mother-in-law will not be called "grandma."

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Mental Health

Man receives phone call from deceased father, proving that grief is like glitter

"Grief is like glitter. You never know when it's going to show up sometimes."

Man's phone call from deceased dad is lesson on grief

Grief is such a strong emotion that most people don't exit this earth having skipped the experience. When grieving the loss of a loved one in the early days, the grief can be so strong that it feels like physical pain. You may start to believe that you've cried so much that there must be something medically wrong with you for your body to still be producing tears. There's no placating cliché about grief that can make the early moments of it more tolerable.

But as people move past the active grieving stage, it contorts itself into something more tolerable that allows you to continue daily obligations before it changes again. Once years pass, grief becomes sort of like a silent passenger holding a jack-in-the-box. You find yourself having full on belly laughs again, feeling quite normal when suddenly out pops that dang clown from the depths of the box.

One man took to his TikTok account, dadchats, to share his experience with a surprise moment of grief for his father that passed away three years prior. It's the perfect depiction of the realities of grieving a profound loss.


"Last night my dead father called me on his cellphone," he starts the video. "It's 9:30 p.m. and I'm watching the Packers vs Taylor Swift game when all of a sudden my phone goes off and for the past five months if I get a call that late at night it's either about a vehicle warranty or it's about getting more printer ink."

The grieving son jokes about not having a printer before explaining how his deceased father called him. Turns out, it wasn't his father, likely much to is relief and simultaneous disappointment. The call was from his mother who never stopped paying for his father's phone unbeknownst to the man picking his heart up off of the floor after seeing "dad" pop up on his phone screen. He explains that his mother only ever calls him from her home phone so this call was sort of a jump scare of the worst kind.

@dadchats

Grief still knows my number

The man got emotional talking about the deep yearning you feel when missing a parent who has passed away. He revealed that his dad dying was a fear he had since childhood due to how old his father was when he was born so he stocked up on voicemails to avoid forgetting his dad's voice. After a few more tear filled moments, the grieving son gives a bit of advice.

"If you're struggling, especially just out of the blue, that's ok, that happens. That's normal, just sit in it. Grieve with it, feel it. It doesn't go away I don't think, it certainly hasn't for me, it still feels as fresh today as it did three years ago."

Viewers of his heartfelt video flocked to the comments to leave words of encouragement and to detail their own experiences with grief. It was truly a moment of what community can look like online.

"Your[sic] absolutely right that the first thing you forget is the sound of their voice! I so badly wish I could still hear the sound of my mom's voice," one person writes.

"Hits home! I called my dad every night for years and kept picking up the phone for months only to remember he won't answer," another admits.

"Grief is like glitter. You never know when it's going to show up, sometimes," someone relates.

That commenter is right, grief is like glitter. No matter how long ago you handled glitter you'll still find little sparkly flecks of it every where you go.